The head of IranAir took delivery in France on Wednesday of the first Western airliner under an international sanctions deal, calling it a “sunny day” for relations between Iran and Europe and a memorable one for aviation in the nation of 80 million people.
Airbus signed a firm contract on Thursday for the sale of 100 aircraft to Iran Air, as Tehran and Western companies race to reopen trade almost a year after sanctions against Iran were lifted.
Iran signed a $16.6 billion deal for 80 Boeing passenger jets on Sunday and was said to be close to another for dozens of Airbus planes to complete what would be the biggest package of firm contracts with Western companies since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.
The United States said on Tuesday it had issued a second license to France’s Airbus to sell commercial planes to Iran Air, bringing Iran’s flag carrier a step closer to receiving new Western jets under last year’s deal to ease sanctions.
Lawmakers in the House are expected to overwhelmingly pass on Wednesday new legislation that would prohibit the Obama administration from facilitating the sale of U.S. aircraft to Iran, according to senior congressional sources who told the Washington Free Beacon that Iran is likely to use American-made planes to rebuild its aging air force.
Iran has reached a deal with a foreign leasing company to finance the first 17 jets it plans to buy from Airbus, breaking a logjam in efforts to import aircraft following the lifting of sanctions, people familiar with the move said.
The U.S. government began granting licenses to aircraft manufacturers Wednesday morning allowing the sale of passenger jets to Iran as part of last summer’s landmark nuclear deal, according to aviation sources.
As the U.S. Treasury Department decides whether to license sales of Boeing Co and Airbus commercial aircraft to Iran, opponents of last year’s nuclear pact with the Islamic Republic have launched a lobbying campaign against the deals.