Iran Invites Boeing to Discuss Sales of Aircraft ; U.S. Aerospace Industry Sees Immense Potential as Sanctions Disappear

By Gladstone, Rick | International New York Times, March 5, 2016 | Go to article overview

Iran Invites Boeing to Discuss Sales of Aircraft ; U.S. Aerospace Industry Sees Immense Potential as Sanctions Disappear


Gladstone, Rick, International New York Times


The Iranians want to modernize their commercial aircraft fleet, and the invitation could be a precursor to ending decades of estrangement with America.

Boeing has been invited to talks with Iranian officials about modernizing Iran's aged commercial aircraft fleet, the country's transport minister has said, in what could be a precursor to the biggest business arrangement by Tehran with an American company after more than three decades of estrangement.

The talks would be among the first tangible results of a less hostile climate between the United States and Iran since a landmark international agreement on Iran's disputed nuclear activities took effect in January. The agreement ended or relaxed many sanctions on Iran in exchange for its verifiable guarantees of peaceful nuclear work.

As part of the agreement, the United States will permit "the sale of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran," which, despite political sensitivities, could make the country a big customer for the civilian American aerospace industry.

The Iranian transport minister, Abbas Akhondi, was quoted by Iran's semiofficial Tasnim News Agency on Thursday as saying that officials from Boeing had been invited to visit Iran regarding the purchase of Boeing aircraft. He did not specify the date for such a visit.

Boeing said last month that as an outcome of the nuclear pact, it had received a license from the United States government to conduct planning discussions with Iran about an aircraft fleet, a step meant to assess Iran's needs before any negotiations for purchases.

Reached for comment about Mr. Akhondi's statement, a spokesman for Boeing, John Dern, declined to specify whether those planning discussions had even begun, but he said "any engagement we have with the Iranians will be limited to the license."

A separate license from the United States government would be required for Boeing to sell aircraft to Iran.

Iranian officials have moved aggressively since the nuclear agreement took effect to acquire new aircraft, projecting that they will need at least 500 planes in the next decade to replace and expand the existing fleet. …

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