The US government granted aviation giants Airbus and Boeing permission to sell aircraft to Iran following last year’s nuclear accord. European airplane manufacturer Airbus announced the license from the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control early Wednesday. Chicago-based Boeing followed with its own announcement later in the day. The approval clears the way for the two plane manufacturers to access one of the last untapped aviation markets in the world.
Both companies have announced separate USD 25-billion deals to sell aircraft to airlines in the country, although analysts are skeptical that there is demand for so many jets or available financing.
The deal would be the biggest for an American company since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and US Embassy takeover.
The announcements come as Iranian and US leaders are in New York for the United Nations General Assembly and shows that the outgoing administration of President Barack Obama is honoring the economic terms of the nuclear pact.
Though based abroad, Airbus needed the approval of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for the deal because at least 10 percent of the manufacturer’s components are of American origin.
Airbus applied for two licenses to cover its deal with Iran to ensure the fast delivery of some of the aircraft, Airbus spokesman Justin Dubon told The Associated Press.
The license announced Wednesday covers the first 17 planes involved in the deal, which will be A320s and A330s, he said.
Dubon said Airbus hoped to receive a second license allowing it to sell the remaining planes to Iran soon.
Iran’s UN mission did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday. State television referred to an AP report on the sale.
Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which limits its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of some international sanctions, specifically allowed for the purchase of aircraft and parts.
That’s set off a race between airplane manufacturers for the newly opened market, home to 80 million people.
In January, national carrier Iran Air signed agreements to buy 118 planes from Airbus, estimated to be worth some 22.8 billion euros (USD 25 billion). On Sunday, state TV reported that Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, a deputy transportation minister, said Iran would cut the number of Airbus planes to 112