Obama Administration Approves Boeing’s Sale of Airplane Parts to Iran…First Time in 35 Years

Monday, April 07, 2014
Iran Air Boeing 747SP-86 (photo: Daniel Haghgoo, Wikipedia)

Visit Havana and you might think you had gone back in time. American cars, all built before the United States halted trade with Cuba in the late 1950s, cruise the streets. A trip to an Iranian airport might give you a similar feeling. That nation’s fleet of airliners is stuck in a time warp, not having been upgraded since before the 1979 Islamic Revolution.


When militants overran the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, the United States halted most exports to Iran, including items built in other countries that contained American parts or technology. That means that the aircraft used in that country are old, mostly Boeing 727s and early model Boeing 747s. Furthermore, Iran hasn’t been able to purchase spare parts for those planes, which has led to scores of accidents.


Now, as part of the interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, the U.S. government is allowing Boeing and General Electric (GE), which manufactures jet engines, to export spare parts to that nation.


Boeing’s application was filed earlier this year with the Treasury Department, and the license opens “the window for some transactions” to provide replacement parts “that have worn out or broken” for Boeing aircraft operated by Iranian airlines, Boeing spokesman Tim Neale told The Wall Street Journal. Boeing’s still waiting to find out which parts Iran needs. GE announced Friday that they’ve gotten permission to overhaul 18 engines it sold to Iran in the late 1970s..


The accord allowing the sales calls for Iran to stop production of enriched uranium. In exchange, Western nations are allowing $6 billion to $7 billion in trade with the country.


The embargo on trade with Iran hasn’t been total. A New York Times investigation in 2010 showed that several companies, mostly in the energy sector, had been doing business in Iran while accepting U.S. government contracts in violation of the Iran Sanctions Act.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

U.S. Allows Boeing Airplane Component Sales to Iran (BBC)

Boeing Gets U.S. Approval to Sell Spare Parts to Iran (by Jon Ostrower, Wall Street Journal)

U.S. Gave $107 Billion in Contracts to Companies Doing Business with Iran (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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