Boeing, the world’s biggest airplane maker, and engine maker General Electric (GE) on Friday said they had received licenses from the US Treasury Department to export certain spare parts for commercial aircraft to Iran under a temporary sanctions relief deal that began in January.
GE spokesman Rick Kennedy said the US Treasury Department had approved the company’s application to service 18 engines sold to Iran in the late 1970s.
He said GE officials would meet with officials from Iranian flag carrier Iranair and MTU in Istanbul next week to discuss Iran’s needs.
He said the license covered only components needed to ensure continued safe flight operations of older Boeing planes sold to Iran before the 1979 revolution, and did not allow any discussions about sales of new aircraft to Iran.
The sales would be the first acknowledged dealings between US aerospace companies and Iran since the 1979 US hostage crisis led to US sanctions that were later broadened during the dispute over Iran’s nuclear activities.
Reuters reported in February that both Boeing and GE had applied for permission to export aircraft parts to Iran during a six-month window agreed by Iran and six world powers in November last year.
Iran agreed in November last year to curtail its nuclear activities for six months from Jan. 20 in exchange for sanctions relief from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US.
The deal provides for the sale of parts to flag carrier Iranair, the fleet of which includes vintage Boeing and Airbus jetliners delivered as long ago as 1978.
Iran says the sanctions have prevented it from renewing its fleet, forcing it to use sub-standard Russian aircraft and to patch up jets that have long since exceed their normal years of service.
Since 1990 it has had more than 200 accidents, causing more than 2,000 deaths, according to news agency IRNA.
Boeing said the license was granted under the temporary sanctions relief deal, and was aimed at helping improve the safety of Iran’s aircraft.