The US Department of the Treasury has announced that it will cancel export licences granted to Airbus(AIB, Toulouse Blagnac) and Boeing (BOE, Chicago O’Hare) among others for the sale of aircraft and sundry parts to Iran following the US’s decision to withdraw from the P5+1 nuclear accords.
In a televised press conference on May 8, United States president Trump said Iran had failed to live up to the terms of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, signed with the United States under the Obama administration, as well as Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.
“I will sign a presidential memorandum to begin reinstating U.S. nuclear sanctions on the Iranian regime,” the President said. “We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction.”
In a follow up statement, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the sales of commercial aircraft would have to end within 90 days, or by August 6, 2018.
“Under the original deal, there were waivers for commercial aircraft, parts and services and the existing licenses will be revoked,” Mnuchin noted. “These are very very strong sanctions; they worked last time. That’s why Iran came to the table.”
In terms of Iranian carrier orders, Iran Air (IR, Tehran Mehrabad) ordered fifty B737 MAX 8s, fifteen B777-300(ER)s, and fifteen B777-9s from Boeing, none of which have yet been delivered. From the Europeans, Iran Air ordered thirty-two A320neo, eight A321ceo (of which one was delivered), eight A330-200s (of which two were delivered), twenty-eight A330-900s, and sixteen A350-1000s. From Avions de Transport Régional, Iran Air ordered twenty ATR72-600s with twenty options. Thus far, eight have been delivered.
Insofar as other carriers are concerned, Iran Aseman Airlines (EP, Tehran Mehrabad) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for sixty B737 MAX jets while Zagros Airlines (Iran) (IZG, Abadan) signed an MOU with Airbus for twenty A320neo and eight A330neo. Unofficially, Qeshm Airlines (QB, Tehran Mehrabad) is said to have signed an MOU for at least five B737-800s and ten B737 MAX 8s. Fly Qeshm (Gheshm) had also reportedly secured OFAC export licences for ten CRJ-900s.
Aside from the sale of aircraft, there are also multiple foreign ACMI operators active with Iranian airlines at present time including Bukovyna Airlines (operating for Kish Air, Iran Air, and ATA Airlines (Iran)), Jordan Aviation (operating for Kish Air), Khors Aircompany (operating for Taban Air, Kish Air, Karun Airlines, and ATA Airlines), SiAvia (operating for ATA), and UM Air (operating for Iran Air). It is uncertain, however, if and how they will be affected by Washington’s more aggressive sanctions.
Iran Air’s CEO Farzaneh Sharafbafi told the IRNA news agency shortly after Washington’s announcement that it would take the airline up to two weeks to review the status of their contracts following which it will decide on a way forward.