On Tuesday, Iran’s transportation minister announced that the country has reached a deal with U.S. aerospace giant Boeing (BA) signifying the first major deal between the two nations since the historic Joint Comprehension Plan of Action, or the Iran nuclear deal, came to fruition last summer.
“We think we need about 100 short-range fleets for our local flights,” Iranian Transport Minister Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi told CNN Money. “And for national flights and international flights about 400 fleet that can do middle and long-range air flights” from both Boeing and its French-based rival Airbus (EADSY), which Iran has already announced it is purchasing 118 aircraft from.
Currently, Iran’s airliner fleet consists of approximately 60 Boeing aircraft which are mostly older models dating back to the 70s and 80s. However, CNN Money notes that of their 250 commercial planes, only 150 are flying, an indication of their need to upgrade their fleet.
Akhoundi told CNN Money that the potential Boeing deal is a “new milestone” in the country’s efforts to rejoin global aviation networks.
The potential Boeing sale has set off alarms in Israel, which consistently faces threats to its viability by the regime with chants of “Death to Israel” and words to the effect of the same message painted on the sides of Iranian missiles. Consequently, an Israeli NGO has threatened to sue U.S.-based Boeing if it goes through with the announced sale and has stated that it will place liens on any of its airplanes slated for Iran.
Despite the nuclear deal — which was led by the Obama administration along with China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Germany — freeing up significant capital for the Islamic Republic of Iran to carry out these purchases, a trade embargo remains in place from the U.S. side, prohibiting Americans from investing directly into the nation.
Additionally, Iran’s Mahan Airliner remains on the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions list for being an accessory to helping the IRGC-Quds Forces carry out the Iranian regime’s export of revolution. Further, the State Department recently released its annual report on global terrorism and deemed the Islamic Republic of Iran “the leading state sponsor of terrorism globally,” second only to the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh), which was labeled as “the greatest threat globally.”
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