US moves to clear sale of planes to Iran

23 November 2016

Previous licence covers a small portion of the deal

The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) has issued a licence for the sale of 106 Airbus commercial planes to Iran Air, the Islamic Republic’s national carrier.

According to a report by London-based Reuters, an Airbus spokesman has also confirmed receiving the Ofac licence although the source did not confirm the exact number of planes cleared for sale.

An earlier licence was granted by the Ofac, which covered the sale of only 17 Airbus planes to Iran Air.

In January, Iran said it agreed to buy 118 jets from Airbus, worth up to $25bn based on list price.

The French planes manufacturer requires approval from the US to sell planes to Iran since at least a tenth of its components are made in the US.

This development follows the US Congress’ vote on 17 November to block the sale of Boeing planes to Iran, which Obama has said he will veto.

It is also seen as a major effort by the outgoing Obama administration to implement the deal reached between Iran and six world powers, including the US, to lift nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.

Those who oppose the sale of US aircraft to Iran, mainly Republican lawmakers, have argued they have evidence pointing to Iran using commercial planes to supply weapons to Syria.

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