At least two US aerospace companies have applied for export licenses to sell passenger airplane parts to Iran in light of an easing of sanctions that is part of an interim nuclear deal between Tehran and Western powers.
Both Boeing and General Electric are reportedly seeking access, for the first time since 1979, to the Islamic Republic, according to industry insiders cited by Reuters.
A spokesman for GE said his company had been asking to provide parts and maintenance to Iran for safety reasons since 2004. He added that the firm had recently refiled its request.
“We don’t want to make a penny on it. It’s entirely for flight safety,” Rick Kennedy said, indicating that any proceeds from sales would go to charity, according to the Reuters report. Boeing declined to comment.
Last month, the US Commerce Department issued an emergency order using US anti-terrorism export control laws against a Turkish company in an attempt to stop it from exporting two Boeing airplane engines to Iran.
The order, signed by Assistant Secretary David Mills, imposed strict restrictions for 180 days against the trade or shipping of any items on US export control lists. It also prevented other companies, including banks, from financing or supporting restricted trade by the Turkish firm. Violating the order also could subject the company and its associates to criminal prosecution in the United States.
Despite tensions, talks between the Islamic Republic and the so-called P5+1 resumed this past week in pursuit of a final nuclear deal. The talks adjourned after two days, with the parties saying they would pick up with negotiations on March 17 in Vienna, Austria.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.