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Boeing Signs New $3B Deal with Iranian Airline

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Boeing Co. said on Tuesday it has signed a new, $3 billion deal with Iran’s Aseman Airlines to supply 30 737 MAX aircraft to the carrier, a new agreement on top of the $16.6 billion sale it made in the Mideast nation following the landmark nuclear deal.

Chicago-based Boeing said the deal also includes purchase rights for an additional 30 737 MAX aircraft for Tehran-based Aseman, which flies domestic and international routes.

The airline could not be immediately reached for comment, though a semi-official Iranian news agency also carried a report on the sale.

The European Union blacklisted Aseman from European skies in December because of safety concerns. The airline did not operate flights to European destinations at the time.

Less than a week after that decision, the airline sealed a deal to lease seven planes made by European manufacturer Airbus. Those aircraft are expected to begin arriving next month.

The new Boeing deal comes as part of the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and world powers. After the atomic accord, Boeing struck a December deal with Iran Air, the country’s flag carrier, for 80 passenger planes worth $16.6 billion.

In January, Iran Air signed agreements to buy 118 planes from Airbus, estimated to be worth some 22.8 billion euros ($25 billion). Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan, a deputy transportation minister, later said Iran would cut the number of Airbus planes to 112.

Washington granted permission for Boeing and Airbus to make the sales in September. Both manufacturers needed the approval of the U.S. Treasury for the deal because at least 10 percent of the airplanes’ components are of American origin.

Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, which limits its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of some international sanctions, specifically allowed for the purchase of aircraft and parts.

The license approval clears the way for the two plane manufacturers to begin accessing one of the last untapped aviation markets in the world, home to 80 million people. However, Western analysts are skeptical that there is demand for so many jets or available financing for deals worth billions of dollars.

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