Iran sees arrival of first Western plane ordered after sanctions lifted
An Airbus passenger plane landed in Tehran on Thursday, the first of 200 Western-built aircraft ordered by IranAir following the lifting of sanctions on Iran last year.
“This is a historic moment for Iran, signalling the end of the sanctions era for the country …This is a prelude to the delivery of other aircraft and the renovation of Iran’s ageing air fleet,” state TV said.
Analysts say IranAir flies one of the world’s oldest fleets and has had to rely on smuggled or improvised parts.
Iran, which has not directly purchased a Western-built plane in nearly 40 years, has ordered 100 from Airbus, 80 from Boeing and 20 from turboprop maker ATR.
The one exception to that was the sale of one plane to replace an Airbus jet shot down by the U.S. Navy in 1988.
The arrival of the Airbus 321 on Thursday comes just over a week before the Jan. 20 inauguration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who is opposed to the deal struck by Western powers which lifted sanctions on Iran over its nuclear deal last January.
Republicans in the U.S. Congress have also objected to the pact, which was signed by the United States, Britain, Russia, France, China, Germany and Iran.
It also faces opposition from hardliners in Iran.
World powers agreed to lift sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear activities.
IranAir Chairman Farhad Parvaresh said on Wednesday he hoped the United States would not block the agreement.
Both Airbus and Boeing need U.S. export licences to deliver the jets because of the number of U.S. parts they contain.
IranAir hopes to receive “at least two more from Airbus” by the end of March and a total of six A320 aircraft in calendar year 2017, Parvaresh said.