MIAMI — Iran’s minister of roads and urban development, Abbas Akhoundi, told the semi-official Iranian FARS news agency that Iran and Boeing struck a multi-billion dollar deal for the acquisition of as many as 100 airplanes.
According to Akhoundi, the deal with Boeing is a potential “new milestone” in the country’s efforts to rejoin global aviation networks. Since 1995, Iran’s aviation industry has been subject to an embargo that prevented Western manufacturers from selling equipment and providing maintenance logistics to the aging country’s air transport fleet, which is nearing three decades of service
The deal marks the first agreement between a U.S. company and the Islamic Republic of Iran since the lifting of Iran’s nuclear program sanctions six months ago, and it is also the second largest aircraft purchase announcement made this year, after the $27 billion deal inked with Airbus and ATR for 158 aircraft.
“We have been engaged in discussions with Iranian airlines approved by the U.S. Government about potential purchases of Boeing commercial passenger airplanes and services.” Said Boeing spokesman Paul Bergman, who also noted that any potential deal between Boeing and Iran is subject to approval from the U.S. government.
The later part — the U.S. government approval — could be a cumbersome obstacle as there are sanctions in place that ban the use of U.S. dollars in trade with Iran, besides a possible opposition from Republican lawmakers, who opposed to Obama’s administration nuclear agreement with Iran.