Airbus Says OFAC Will “Soon” Issue Licenses
The US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control “will soon” issue licenses to Airbus so that the French planemaker can sell aircraft to Iran, says deputy minister of roads and urban development Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan, quoting Airbus officials as saying in their latest negotiations with Iran. “As soon as the OFAC permits are issued, it is expected that the first batch of new Airbus planes will join the Iranian fleet by autumn,” he was quoted by ILNA as saying on Sunday. A preliminary deal between Iran’s flag-carrier Iran Air and the French company to purchase 118 airplanes worth $25-27 billion, was struck in January after decades of sanctions on Iran’s aviation industry were lifted as part of last year’s landmark nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. Many parts of Airbus planes, including some engines, are made in the United States. Iran has also signed a preliminary deal with American jetmaker Boeing to acquire 100 planes worth more than $20 billion. However, the implementation of both deals have faced obstacles as Washington has refrained from issuing the licenses. Major banks and financial institutions are reluctant to fund the deals, fearing the wrath of the United States. Hardliners in the US House of Representatives recently proposed a measure that may well stop both companies from making sales to Iran as both businesses use a large number of US made parts. While US President Barack Obama is expected to veto that legislation, it has pushed back the clock for the airplane deliveries, much to the annoyance of Iranian officials. Last week, three separate groups of Boeing officials, including financial, legal and technical groups visited Iran to discuss the aircraft sale.