US aerospace giant Boeing confirmed Wednesday that it was in talks with Iranian airlines seeking to buy its airplanes.
“We have been engaged in discussions with Iranian airlines approved by the USG (US government) about potential purchases of Boeing commercial passenger airplanes and services,” the company said in an email to AFP.
“We do not discuss details of ongoing conversations we are having with customers, and our standard practice is to let customers announce any agreements that are reached,” it said.
The Iranian news agency Fars reported Tuesday that Iran’s minister of roads and urban development, Abbas Akhoundi, said that Iran had reached an agreement with Boeing and the details would be announced “within (the) next few days.”
People close to the US aircraft manufacturer had said in April that Boeing officials visiting Iran had discussed the sale of new versions of the 737, 777 and 787 jetliner families.
In February, Boeing was granted approval from the US government to explore resuming sales to Iran after US sanctions were partially lifted in January following a deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.
Iran has ordered about 200 planes from three Western manufacturers since nuclear-related sanctions were lifted.
European planemaker Airbus, which has had far more freedom since the sanctions were removed to negotiate with Tehran, secured a deal to sell Iran 118 planes.
Western manufacturers were barred for nearly two decades from selling aircraft or equipment and spare parts to Iranian companies.
That embargo was blamed for crippling Iran’s aviation industry. Its civil aviation fleet has 140 aircraft, with an average age of around 20 years, and many are in desperate need of replacement.