US firms eager to sell jet parts to Iran: Report

US firms eager to sell jet parts to Iran: Report
Sat Feb 22, 2014 13:26:29

US aerospace companies are seeking permission to sell airliner parts to Iran for the first time in three decades, in a key test of a temporary relief of illegal US-led sanctions against the country following the Geneva nuclear talks between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries.

At least two leading manufacturers, Boeing (BA.N) and engine maker General Electric (GE)(GE.N), have applied for export licenses in a six-month window agreed by Iran and six world powers in November, industry officials and other sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

If approved, the sales would be the first acknowledged dealings between US aerospace companies and Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran that led to sanctions that were later broadened during the dispute over Iran's nuclear energy program.

Rival European groups, however, have been slower to react because of doubts over the status of the European Union's complex Iranian sanctions legislation and fears of a backlash from the United States, which had warned them not to rush into dealings with Tehran.

Other potential obstacles include uncertainty over terms and conditions for exports and the difficulty of finding banks willing to handle the transactions, which must be completed by July 20.

A GE spokesman said his company had been asking since 2004 for permission to provide parts and maintenance for engines for safety reasons, without profiting from the scheme. GE, the world's largest maker of jet engines by sales, refiled its request after the sanctions relief came into force, he added.

"We don't want to make a penny on it. It's entirely for flight safety," Rick Kennedy said.

A source familiar with the matter said that Boeing, the world's biggest manufacturer of passenger jets, had also filed a request for permission to export parts to Iran.

Boeing declined to comment, referring questions to the US State Department, which in turn referred queries to the US Treasury. A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, which enforces international sanctions, declined to comment on specific license requests or applications.

Analysts believe the American reckless policies have been responsible for numerous Iranian plane crashes which have left more than 1,700 passengers and crew members dead.


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