Will the U.S. Approve Boeing Sales to Iran?

The Chicago-based aviation giant tells the AP it has signed an agreement with Iran Air potentially worth billions—but the deal is subject to government approval.

Vahid Salemi / AP

Boeing says it has signed an agreement with Iran Air under which the Islamic Republic’s state airline expressed its intent to buy its aircraft, the Associated Press is reporting Tuesday. The deal, if approved by the U.S. government, would be the largest since the U.S. and Iran severed ties after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

In a statement to the AP, Boeing said:

Boeing will continue to follow the lead of the U.S. government with regards to working with Iran's airlines, and any and all contracts with Iran's airlines will be contingent upon U.S. government approval.

As we reported last week, Abbas Akhoundi, Iran’s minister of roads and urban development, told local media that Iran would buy 100 aircraft from the Chicago-based aviation giant, a deal that could be worth billions. But, as we noted:

But a potential deal faces obstacles, not least of them the fact any such agreement with the Islamic Republic is subject to U.S. government approval. The U.S. still has non-nuclear sanctions on Iran, and many congressional lawmakers, who opposed the nuclear agreement Iran struck with the U.S. and other world powers, are likely to oppose the deal, as well.

In January IranAir struck a $27 billion deal to buy 118 planes from Airbus, the European airplane manufacturer that is Boeing’s largest rival. Akhoundi told the AP the deal with Boeing would be worth about the same amount.