Friday, 15 November, 2019

Iran’s huge Airbus deal in final stages: French minister

Iran’s purchase of 118 Airbus passenger aircraft is in its final stages and the deal could be completed as soon as next week, the French transport minister said Monday in Tehran.

Alain Vidalies told reporters that the contract, initially valued at $25 billion, is subject to approval from the US government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and talks are planned next week.

The deal would be by far the biggest commercial contract signed since Iran and world powers implemented an agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program that saw crippling sanctions lifted in January.

“We are in a very advanced stage of negotiations since the meetings should be held next week to finalize the decision,” said Vidalies, who arrived Sunday on the first Air France flight to Iran in eight years.

OFAC must approve the deal, which Iranian officials say is worth nearer $10 billion, because more than 10 percent of components in the Airbus planes are of American origin, Vidalies said at a press conference with his Iranian counterpart Abbas Akhoundi.

Iran agreed to buy the medium- and long-haul aircraft when President Hassan Rouhani visited France in January, just days after the nuclear deal lifted sanctions.

Western manufacturers were barred for nearly two decades from selling aircraft or equipment and spare parts to Iranian companies.

That embargo was blamed for crippling Iran’s aviation industry. Its civil aviation fleet has 140 aircraft, with an average age of around 20 years, and many are in desperate need of replacement.

Despite the nuclear-related international sanctions being lifted in January a raft of other US sanctions relating to terror and human rights remain in place. Those largely ban American companies from business with Iran without the special exceptions or licenses issued by the US Treasury.

i24news

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