TOULOUSE A deal for Iran to buy 20 short-haul passenger aircraft from ATR should be signed imminently, the head of the European planemaker told Reuters on Friday. The deal will come after Iran, which had not directly purchased a Western-built plane in nearly 40 years, signed contracts with Europe's Airbus (AIR.PA) and U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N) last year to purchase about 180 jets.That became possible after an agreement between Iran and six major powers lifted most international sanctions imposed on Tehran, in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program."We have concluded the negotiations and we should sign the contract imminently," ATR's CEO Christian Scherer told Reuters.Some Iranian media quoted ATR officials as saying on Friday that the deal had been signed.
Toulouse-based ATR, co-owned by Airbus and Italy's Leonardo Finmeccanica (LDOF.MI), reported in February preliminary orders from Iran for 20 twin-engine turboprop ATR 72-600 aircraft.Iranian officials said in December the contract for 20 planes was worth $400 million.
Iran's first Western airplane ordered since the lifting of sanctions, an Airbus A321, landed at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport last week. Both Airbus and Boeing need U.S. export licenses to deliver the jets because of the number of U.S. parts they contain. Some U.S. unilateral sanctions still remain in place.
Both have received licenses but some need to be extended due to the lengthy delivery period and analysts expect Boeing to point to the Airbus delivery to argue its deal should go ahead. (Reporting by Tim Hepher; Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Susan Thomas and Mark Potter)
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Updated Date: Jan 20, 2017 23:16:33 IST