Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 17
By Fatih Karimov – Trend:
A US House bill on tightening controls on the Islamic Republic plane sales has led to serious concerns in Iran regarding the future of the country’s deals with leading western aircraft manufacturers, Boeing and Airbus.
The US House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would require the Treasury Department to notify Congress about the activities of the Iranian company that purchases the planes, as well as the financing used for the deal and certify that they would not aid Iran's effort to distribute weapons.
Meanwhile the US lawmakers emphasize that the legislation does not bar any aircraft sales to Iran, the Iranian side, sees that as a step against the nuclear deal between Tehran and the six world power, namely the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which came into force last year.
Tehran is concerned that the legislation will undermine its vital aircraft deals, worth some $44 billion with EU and US aircraft builders.
In December 2016, Iran Air agreed separate contracts to buy 100 Airbus aircraft worth an estimated $27 billion and 80 Boeing jets valued at $16.6 billion. Earlier that year, in February, it signed a deal to buy up to 40 ATR turboprop passenger planes.
Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, Iranian Deputy Road and Urban Development Minister said yesterday that the legislation can undermine Iran’s plane purchase campaigns.
"If this bill is finally approved by the Senate, sales of planes by Boeing and Airbus to Iran would face problems which is a clear violation of the JCPOA by the US," the official said.
He added that the bill would not ban sales of planes to Iran, but would nonetheless create serious obstacles on the way of selling planes to Iran.
Fakhrieh Kashan further said that the plan would either be meant to deter financial institutions from funding any Iran-related transactions or would trace and eventually confiscate the payments that Iran would make for purchasing the planes.
Meanwhile, Iran Air CEO Farzaneh Sharafbafi has made more optimistic statements regarding the issue.
The Iranian flag carrier’s head, told reporters Dec. 17, that the legislation may delay OFAC(US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control) licenses for Iran’s plane purchase, but would not undermine the deals.
She earlier said that even if the United States chooses to walk out of the nuclear deal, Tehran’s aircraft deal with Boeing won’t be affected.
Meanwhile Fakhrieh Kashan, has said that Iran would have right to file a complaint against the US in a joint Committee established over the implementation of the nuclear agreement, if the senate approves the legislation and it comes into force, a sign that Tehran views the legislation as a serious challenge for its long-awaited air plane deals to renovate its aging air fleet.