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Boeing urged to 'reconsider' business with Iran

May 21, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC - US congressmen summoned Boeing executives to warn them against entering the Iranian market, a report says.

Three House members from the Washington state, a major base for Boeing operations, wrote to the company on Friday to request a meeting with Boeing heads, the Washington Free Beacon news website reported.

The warning comes after Boeing officials visited Tehran last month for their first talks with Iranian airlines to enter one of the few remaining untapped aviation markets.

Boeing is vying Iran in a race with Airbus which clinched a deal worth $27 billion to sell new passenger planes to the Middle Eastern country three months ago.

The Friday letter by Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dave Reichert and Dan Newhouse was also sent to the head of Airbus, the report said.

“We write to express our serious concerns over the sale of airplanes, parts, and other aircraft-related services to the Islamic Republic of Iran,” they said.

“With Airbus already conducting business in Iran and Boeing working with the (Obama) administration to begin its own sales, an extremely dangerous precedent is being set for Western companies,” they added.

According to the Free Beacon, the Obama administration has recently begun a public campaign to encourage European and some American businesses to do trade with Iran.

On Thursday, the US and its European partners made a fresh appeal for European banks and businesses to invest in Iran.

Governor of Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif, however, said Western governments need to translate their words into action. He said the US and the EU are failing to fully comply with their commitments under a nuclear deal with Tehran.

Major European banks are refraining from handling Iranian payments four months after the lifting of sanctions on Iran.

Citing the three US House members, the Free Beacon claimed that Obama administration officials were working with Boeing to help it avoid sanctions that might interrupt its business ventures in Iran.

“Insiders believe the effort is part of a larger bid to provide Iran backdoor access to the US dollar,” the news website said.

Restriction on Iran’s access to the dollar system has created serious issues even in cases where no dollars are exchanged, Seif said on Thursday.

During their visit to Tehran, Boeing executives reportedly provided a closer look at the company's 737, 777, 787 jetliners.

The planemaker also discussed financing methods and maintenance for aging Boeing models that have been in service in Iran for years, Iranian Airlines Association Secretary Maghsoud Samani was quoted as saying.

Iran’s current civil aviation fleet consists of 248 aircraft with an average age of 20 years, of which 100 are grounded.

Officials have said the country would need 500 commercial jets of various models for various short-, medium- and long-distance routes.

Last week, a senior official said Iran had begun negotiations with Airbus to finalize the first major deal for purchase of passenger planes since 1979.

The two sides signed a preliminary agreement in January for Iran's purchase of 118 planes from Airbus during a landmark trip to Paris by President Hassan Rouhani.

Boeing urged to 'reconsider' business with Iran

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