Airbus says it has obtained an initial license from the United States to supply passenger jets to Iran as part of a 25-billion-dollar deal between the aircraft manufacturer and the Islamic Republic signed in January.
Airbus spokesman, Justin Dubon, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the company received the license from the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control for the early delivery of 17 A320 or A330 jets to Iran.
He also noted that Airbus hoped to receive a second license allowing it to export the remaining aircraft to Iran within the next few weeks.
Back in January, Tehran signed a major contract with Airbus to buy 118 planes. The accord was inked during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Paris.
However, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Road and Urban Development Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan said earlier this week the country had cut the number of planes to be purchased to 112.
The deal was made possible by last year’s nuclear agreement between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries, including Russia, China, France, Britain, the US and Germany.
The July 2015 nuclear accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), took effect in January. It ended decades of economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.
However, months into the JCPOA’s implementation, Iran says that the promised economic benefits have yet to materialize, and that it still does not have access to global financial markets.
Wednesday’s announcement by Airbus will be closely watched by Chicago-based Boeing Co., which also inked a memorandum of agreement with Iran in June. The deal involves Iran purchasing 80 planes and leasing another 29.
Aviation sources said the US Treasury was expected within “days” to begin unblocking Boeing’s deal to sell or lease the 109 jets to Iran.