Iran Air Signs $16 Billion Plane Deal with Boeing

Iran’s main air travel company Iran Air has signed an agreement with American manufacturer Boeing to buy 80 passenger airplanes.

The two companies announced the $16.6 billion deal Sunday after a signing ceremony in Iran’s capital,Tehran.

The agreement calls for Boeing to provide 50 737 planes and 30 777 aircraft to Iran Air over the next 10 years. Boeing said the first planes would start arriving in 2018.

It is the biggest agreement to be signed between an Iranian and American company since Iran’s revolution in 1979.

Iran had previously been barred from buying planes from U.S.-based Boeing because of economic sanctions against the country. The U.S. government approved the deal in September.

The approval was the result of an international nuclear agreement signed by Iran and six world powers in July 2015. The agreement eased restrictions on Iran in exchange for limits on Iran’s nuclear program.

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last month to block aircraft sales to Iran possibly affecting the Boeing deal. The measure must still pass the Senate. U.S. President Barack Obama has said he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk before he leaves office on January 20.

Boeing said in a statement the deal would “support tens of thousands of U.S. jobs” directly related to production of the planes.

Iran’s transport minister said the agreement represented a “historic” day for Iran. He added that the deal would create 8,000 jobs in Iran.

The official indirectly noted the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. “We hope that despite changes in the U.S. administration, the country will remain loyal to its commitments,” he said.

During his campaign for president, Trump strongly criticized the nuclear agreement. He called it a “disaster” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.” Trump also threatened to end the deal if elected president.

The president-elect recently criticized Boeing for “out of control” costs related to another contract. Boeing has an agreement to build new airplanes for the president, known as Air Force One.

“Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!" Trump tweeted.

The U.S. Air Force has agreed with Boeing to build two new Air Force One planes expected to go into service by 2024. The deal for the Air Force One contract is expected to cost about $3 billion, but costs have reportedly been rising.

In response to Trump, Boeing said in a statement that it was currently under contract with the Air Force for $170 million for the project’s first phase. It said that amount would be spent “to help determine the capabilities of these complex military aircraft.”

“We look forward to working with the U.S. Air Force on subsequent phases of the program allowing us to deliver the best planes for the president at the best value for the American taxpayer,” the statement said.

Boeing is not the only defense company that Trump has criticized.

On Monday, the president-elect said the “cost is out of control” on the F-35 fighter jet program of aerospace company Lockheed Martin. The $400 billion program has been called the most costly in the history of the U.S. Defense Department.

I’m Anne Ball.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Mario Ritter was the editor.

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Words in This Story

sanctions – n. restrictions imposed on a country as a way to try to get it to obey international laws

phase – n. stage or period that is part of a longer period

subsequent – adj. happening after something else

deliver – v. take something to a person or place