Announcement could be made on Boeing planes for Iran

Image: Tegra Stone Nuess/The New York Times

Boeing could soon resume sales to Iran, which have been on hold since the country’s 1979 revolution.

Reuters and others report that unnamed officials have said Iranair would add more than 100 Boeing jets to its ageing fleet, which includes planes built pre-1979.

Details were vague, but the country’s minister for roads and urban planning, Abbas Ahmad Akhundi, told reporters that these would be known within days. The size of the acquisition could be similar in scope to an as-yet incomplete agreement worth $27 billion with Boeing rival Airbus for 118 planes earlier in the year.

A Boeing executive told The Washington Post a formal announcement would likely be made on Wednesday (US time).

Although sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program were lifted six months ago, there are considerable obstacles to any agreement.

These include US legislators hostile to the nuclear deal, Iran’s Ayatollah unlikely to support the purchase of US planes, and parts of the civil aviation industry being controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, to which sanctions still apply.

“It’s a due-diligence nightmare,” Mark Dubowitz of the pressure group Foundation for Defense of Democracies told The New York Times.

“Not just for the companies but for the banks that finance the deals.”