Iran has acquired five new airplanes a day before the US is to begin restoring sanctions suspended under the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported Sunday that the five ATR 72-600 airplanes, which are twin-engine turboprops, had arrived at Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport.
Their arrival means Iran Air has received 13 of the 20 passenger planes it ordered from the French-Italian manufacturer in April 2017. The deal had a list value of $536 million, though buyers and manufacturers typically negotiate lower prices.
The nuclear deal with world powers would have allowed Iran to replace its aging commercial fleet. But US President Donald Trump’s decision in May to withdraw from the accord halted billion-dollar deals Iran struck with Airbus and Boeing.
Iran’s economy has rapidly deteriorated in recent months, fueling protests.
Trump announced in early May the unilateral withdrawal of the US from the Iran nuclear deal and the reinstatement of sanctions against the country, as well as against foreign companies who do business with it.
Last month, Dutch airline KLM said it would halt flights to Tehran “as a result of the negative results and financial outlook” following the US withdrawal from the accord.
KLM said its last flight will leave Amsterdam on September 22 and return on September 23.
The remaining partners in the 2015 nuclear deal have vowed to keep Iran plugged into the global economy despite the US withdrawal and sanctions threat.
Britain, France, and Germany along with Russia and China met with Iran in Vienna last month to offer economic benefits and assurances that would lessen the blow of the sweeping US sanctions announced by Trump.