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December 17, 2018 9:34 am

Iran Urges EU to Press Washington on Airbus Deliveries

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

An Iran Air Airbus A320 aircraft parks after landing at Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport, Serbia, March 13, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Marko Djurica / File.

Iran called on the European Union on Monday to press US authorities to allow delivery of Airbus passenger aircraft purchased by Tehran, Iran’s student news agency ISNA reported.

To upgrade its aging fleet, Iran Air ordered 200 passenger aircraft — 100 from Airbus, 80 from Boeing and 20 from Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR — after a 2015 nuclear deal was reached between Iran and six major powers. But the US Treasury revoked licenses for Boeing and France’s Airbus to sell commercial planes to Iran Air after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the agreement in May and reimposed sanctions.

“Our main concern is being able to serve our passengers better … We hope that the EU can get the OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) licenses for delivery of purchased Airbus planes,” Iran Air Chief Executive Farzaneh Sharafbafi was quoted by ISNA as saying.

Although Airbus is based in France, it must have the approval of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to sell planes to Iran because at least 10 percent of the components of the aircraft are US-made.

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“As OFAC licenses were issued for ATR planes …the licenses for Airbus planes can be pursued by (the EU),” she said. “Iran Air can never be stopped.”

Under a special agreement after US licenses were revoked but before new sanctions came in force on Nov. 5, ATR delivered 13 of the 20 turboprop aircraft sought by Iran Air while the remainder remain on order.

Other signatories of the nuclear deal and the EU have remained committed to the pact and have been trying to salvage it.

Airbus, which delivered three aircraft before the licenses were withdrawn, continues to show the order as active on its books.

Boeing never officially added Iran’s order to its list of sold jets and has said it will not pursue the deal.

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