Iran awaiting Airbus move after Trump's JCPOA exit

Erika Holt
May 12, 2018

These bills targeted foreign businesses outside the jurisdiction of the US - including some of the biggest companies of America's closest allies in Europe - by threatening to cut them off from the USA financial and banking systems if they invest in Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran means companies worldwide must stop doing business with the country or else run afoul of the U.S. government.

European companies with interests in the United States "find it is impossible to hide from the world's policeman" said Jacques Hogard, who runs an global consulting firm. "You make trade war against China, trade war against Europe, war in Syria, war against Iran".

Airbus signed a deal to sell Iran 100 jetliners worth about $19 billion at list prices in December 2016.

Iran has so far imported only about 11 aircraft, three from Airbus and eight from Franco-Italian turboprop maker ATR.

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Talking directly to Washington to soften the Trump administration's stance may be the wisest course of action, some companies say.

"During the talks with Airbus and Boeing we did not consider any possibility of such exit from the deal and it was not mentioned in the contracts", Fakhrieh-Kashan, a former deputy minister who negotiated the contracts, told Fars. Boeing also signed a deal with Iran Air for 80 planes at a cost of $17 billion, and later agreed to sell 30 planes to Aseman Airlines for $3 billion.

Whether any of that can move ahead if the United States pulls out of the Iran deal is now up in the air. However, Germany, France and Britain, in a bid to bring Washington back into the deal, want talks to be held with Tehran in a broader format covering Iran's ballistic missile programme, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 and its involvement in conflicts in the Middle East.

Muilenburg said Wednesday that his company had not committed production slots for the Iranian orders of Boeing's 777 widebody and 737 MAX jetliners and would continue to "follow the USA government's lead" when it comes to Iran.

All new contracts will be immediately subject to these sanctions, mostly passed into law in 2012 during an earlier peak in the Iran nuclear crisis.

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