PHOTO: The first Boeing 737 MAX. (photo by Paul Thompson)
Boeing has tentatively agreed to a $3 billion deal with Iran Aseman Airlines and will supply the carrier with 30 new 737 Max aircraft in what would be the first major sale by a U.S. company to the Islamic Republic under President Donald Trump.
The Chicago-based company also confirmed that the deal includes purchase rights for 30 additional 737 Max aircraft.
While Boeing said the first deliveries will start in 2022, Aseman spokesman Amir Reza Mostafavi told the Associated Press that the first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered as early as 2019.
The agreement is still subject to U.S. Treasury approval, however, and the next step is for Boeing to apply for licenses with the department.
"According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, an aerospace sale of this magnitude creates or sustains approximately 18,000 jobs in the United States," said Boeing in a statement.
"Boeing will look to the Office of Foreign Assets Control for approval to perform under this transaction. Boeing continues to follow the lead of the U.S. government with regards to working with Iran’s airlines, and any and all contracts with Iran’s airlines are contingent upon U.S. government approval."
Whether this latest deal comes to fruition could paint a clearer picture of where the Trump administration stands on U.S. business relations with Iran and other parts of the Islamic Republic.
Aseman is Iran's third-largest carrier based on active fleet size, according to CAPA consultancy via Reuters. Although managed as a private company, the airline is owned by the country's civil service pension foundation.
The latest deal comes after Boeing agreed to sell 80 aircraft worth $16.6 billion to Iran Air as part of the atomic deal between Iran and world powers designed to lift major sanctions in exchange for limited nuclear developments.
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Trump has been critical of the nuclear accord in the past and has discussed potentially renegotiating the terms of the agreement. However, he also praised Boeing back in February during a visit to one of the company's plants in South Carolina. Trump has also spoken often about the importance of keeping jobs in the U.S., which this deal would do, according to Boeing.
According to the AP, some analysts are dubious of the recent deals with Iranian airlines involving so many passenger planes, questioning whether the demand and available financing warrant such large orders.