Sep 20, 2016

    Iran urges US to clear runway for plane deals to take off


    IRAN urged the United States on Sunday to remove remaining obstacles to it buying passenger planes following the lifting of international sanctions.

    Iran provisionally agreed earlier this year to buy over 200 jets worth US$50 billion (S$68.2 billion) at list prices from Airbus and Boeing under an agreement between Teheran and world powers to ease sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear activities.

    Both deals hinge on the longer-than-expected process of winning US Treasury approval, which is needed due to the high proportion of US parts

    in virtually all modern jetliners, including those made by Europe's Airbus.

    Roads and Urban Development Minister

    Abbas Akhoundi told an aviation conference

    that Iran was complying with its obligations and continuing to negotiate with other plane makers.

    Critics in the US Congress say Iran could use the planes for military purposes, such as transporting fighters to battle US troops or allies in Syria.

    US critics of the nuclear deal also say it could allow Iran to skirt remaining sanctions by transferring jets acquired by national carrier IranAir to airlines that remain on a US blacklist.

    Iran estimates it will need at least 400 aircraft

    to renew and expand its fleet, including some

    250 in the next 10 years.

    Iran is also dangling the prospect of significant business for Western firms, including airport expansion.REUTERS