Airbus ready to finance plane purchases: Iranian official

Tasnim – European aviation giant Airbus has voiced readiness to fund the country’s purchases of passenger planes, Head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) Ali Abedzadeh said.

Airbus, the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR, and American aviation giant Boeing have already approached Iran to fund the purchases, Abedzadeh said on Sunday.

He added that talks to choose the financer were underway, noting that the three financiers have shown great interest.

ATR signed a firm contract with Iran Air for 20 turboprop aircraft and options for a further 20 planes early this year.

In January, Iran signed a major contract with Airbus worth about $27 billion to buy 118 planes.

Iran also sealed a deal in June worth around $25 billion with Boeing for the purchase of 100 passenger planes.

In similar remarks on Sunday, CEO of Iran Air Farzaneh Sharafbafi said Airbus will fund the country’s purchases of the planes.

She added the issue is set to be discussed during an upcoming meeting with Airbus officials in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on December 17.

Sharafbafi further referred to a recent bill approved by US lawmakers which will bring the sales of American planes to Iran under the close scrutiny of the Congress.

It would require the Treasury Department to report to Congress on Iranian purchases of US aircraft and how those sales would be financed.

The CEO of Iran Air said the bill may delay the issuance of licenses for sales to Iran by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), but will not “affect” the process of purchasing the planes.

US media reported that the new Congress bill had once again brought into the spotlight the question whether undermining plane sales to Iran would break US commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, US, Britain, France, and Germany) on July 14, 2015, reached a conclusion over the text of the JCPOA.

The accord took effect in January 2016 and was supposed to terminate all nuclear-related sanctions against Iran all at once, but its implementation has been hampered mainly due to US policies.