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Boeing Will Not Deliver Planes to Iran, Ending Controversial Multi-Billion Dollar Sale

Following the exit of the United States from the nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions, airplane manufacturer Boeing announced that it would not deliver any planes to Iran, Agence France-Presse reported Wednesday.

The announcement effectively ends the highly controversial multi-billion dollar deals Boeing made with Iran in the wake of the nuclear deal, which lifted sanctions on Iran’s national carrier Iran Air.

“We have not delivered any aircraft to Iran, and given we no longer have a license to sell to Iran at this time, we will not be delivering any aircraft,” a spokesman for the company said.

“We did not factor the Iran orders into our order backlog either.”

Boeing had initially announced a $16.6 billion sale of 80 aircraft to Iran in December 2016 to Iran Air, the national carrier of the Islamic Republic. The airline, prior to the nuclear deal, had been sanctioned due to its material support of terrorism. A second sale of 30 aircraft to Iran Aseman Airlines for $3 billion was announced in April 2017.

Previously, Boeing said that it would respect the decision of the United States government and had already delayed the delivery schedule for some of the purchased planes.

General Electric, another U.S. manufacturing giant, also announced that it was winding down its business interests in Iran, and would leave the country by  November 4.

The sales were made possible when the U.S. Treasury  Department issued licenses to Boeing to sell planes to Iran in September 2016.

The Boeing deal with Iran Air is controversial because Iran uses even commercial planes to transport weapons and troops to Syria.

Thomas Pickering, a former ambassador to Russia, India, Israel, and the United Nations, who was a consultant to Boeing until 2015, frequently advocated for the nuclear deal. Though he often spoken in favor of the nuclear deal, which would open up the Iranian market to plane manufacturers like Boeing, he never disclosed his ties to the manufacturer.

Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, argued in an essay published in March in Foreign Policy, that President Donald Trump should re-sanction Iran Air, which had its sanctions removed as part of the 2015 nuclear deal. Because the terms of the nuclear deal only allow commercial planes to be sold to Iran, the fact that Iran uses its civilian plane for military purposes makes Iran Air a fair target for renewed sanctions.

[Photo: contri / Flickr ]