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The New Arab

Airbus gets US license to deliver planes to Iran

Airbus reached the deal in January to sell Iran 118 aircraft [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 September, 2016

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Airbus has been granted a license by the US government to sell its first planes to Iran as part of a landmark deal.

Airbus said on Wednesday it had obtained a first license from the United States to supply passenger jets to Iran, a key step towards fulfilling a multi-billion-dollar deal.

Airbus reached the deal in January to sell Iran 118 aircraft but it required approval from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control because some of the planes' components are made in the United States.

"Airbus applied for two licenses and the first one was granted yesterday night. We expect the second license to be granted in the coming weeks," an Airbus spokesman said.

Airbus said it had been cleared to transfer 17 planes to Iran Air. Some of those deliveries may occur as early as this year, the spokesman added.

The deal was initially valued at $25 billion (22.4 billion euros) but Iranian officials say it is worth nearer $10 billion.

In June, Iran reached an arrangement with American aerospace giant Boeing to purchase 100 aircraft.

In reference to Wednesday's announcement, Airbus rival Boeing said, “We believe their license application was submitted prior to our similar request and that the government follows a ‘first in, first out’ policy. We look forward to receiving our license from the government shortly.”

Many of Iran's ageing civil aviation fleet are in desperate need of replacement.

Parts and servicing remained nearly impossible to get while the world sanctioned Iran over its nuclear programme.

But a nuclear deal struck this year with six world powers, including the US, has lifted some of the economic sanctions on Iran in return for limits on the Islamic Republic's contested atomic programme.

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