Iran places $16.6B US order with Boeing for 80 new planes

Iran’s flag carrier finalized a major deal with U.S. plane maker Boeing Co. to buy $16.6 billion US of passenger planes Sunday in one of the most tangible benefits yet for the Islamic Republic from last year’s landmark nuclear agreement.

Iran Air’s deal for 80 jetliners is the biggest agreement Iran has struck with an American company since the 1979 revolution and U.S. Embassy takeover. It has the potential to transform Iran’s creaking and accident-prone aviation industry, which has been hobbled by years of sanctions.

Those curbs have prevented the country from buying new planes from Chicago-based Boeing and European rival Airbus, and in many cases made it difficult for Iranian airlines to secure much-needed spare parts.

The deal covers 50 single-aisle 737 Max 8s, a soon-to-be-introduced version of Boeing’s existing narrow-body 737 line.

It also includes 30 777s, a wide-body, twin-engine plane typically used on long-haul routes that is popular with other Persian Gulf carriers such as Dubai-based Emirates. Half of the order will cover the 777-300ER version, while the rest will be of the 777-9 model still under development.

Trump criticism of nuclear deal
President-elect Donald Trump and several Republican lawmakers have criticized the nuclear deal, but it’s unclear whether they would scrap the agreement, which was reached with Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.
The Republican-led House of Representatives last month voted to bar commercial aircraft sales to Iran in a move that could block the Boeing deal. That legislation must still pass the Senate, where it will likely face opposition from Democrats. U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk before he leaves office on Jan. 20.

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