In a potential test of the Trump Administration’s line on Iran, Boeing has signed its second multi-billion-dollar deal to supply passenger aircraft to Tehran.
The Chicago-based manufacturer announced a $3 billion agreement on Monday to provide 30 of its 737 Max planes to Iran Aseman Airlines.
Last December, the Islamic Republic’s national carrier Iran Air and Boeing agreed a $16.6 billion package for 80 aircraft.
Iran also signed a deal in January 2016, within days of implementation of the January 2016 nuclear agreement with the 5+1 Powers, with France for the delivery of 118 Airbus planes.
However, fulfilment of the contracts has been hindered by difficulties over financing, amid ongoing US restrictions that affect the global market. The Airbus deal has been reduced to 100 aircraft, with onlyBoein three delivered so far. None of the 80 Boeing jets have been supplied to Iran Air so far.
Deliveries of the single-aisle Boeing 737 Max jet to Iran Aseman are scheduled to start in 2022. The carrier is hoping to modernize after it was banned by the European Union in December for “unaddressed deficiencies”.
The Iranian carrier operates 33 planes, including two Boeing 737s and five Boeing 727s, according to its website. Almost half of the fleet consists of Fokker 100 aircraft. The airline reached an earlier pact to lease seven Airbus planes.
Boeing said on Monday that it will seek purchase approval from the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees the implementation of sanctions. The company promoted the deal with the claim that it will sustain about 18,000 American jobs.
Senator Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, and leading GOP Senator John McCain said there is little that Congress can do to block the sale as long as it meets the terms set out in the nuclear deal.
However, Senator Marco Rubio held open the possibility of a challenge.