The US Treasury Department has authorized France’s Airbus to sell 106 commercial planes to Iran Air, Iran’s flagship carrier.
The US Office of Foreign Assets Control, an arm of the Treasury Department, granted the license to Airbus Group SE on Tuesday to deliver more than $20 billion in jets to Iran Air in the coming years, Reuters reported.
Airbus is based in France but it must have the US authorization to export planes to Iran because at least 10 percent of the aircraft’s parts are made in the United States.
The Treasury’s approval comes in the last months of the US President Barack Obama’s administration after anti-Iran sanctions were lifted as part of a landmark nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries last year.
Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany signed the JCPOA in July 2015 and started implementing it in January 2016.
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limitations on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
In January, Iran signed a major contract with European aviation giant, Airbus, worth about $27 billion to buy 118 planes within few months. The contract was signed during the visit to France by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani.
However, critics of plane sales to Iran have sought to block the transaction. The US House of Representatives passed a bill on November 17 that would bar the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran, which would also affect the US aerospace heavyweight, Boeing. The bill must now clear the Senate.
The White House announced that President Obama would veto the bill, saying it would undermine the international nuclear agreement.
The White House said US allies would view the legislation as a violation of the JCPOA.