Iran seeks more aircraft as questions linger over earlier deals
By Parisa Hafezi and Tim Hepher
ANKARA/FARNBOROUGH, England (Reuters) - Iran has expanded its search for aircraft and is looking to order dozens more jets while it continues to try to overcome hurdles to deals worth some $50 billion with Airbus and Boeing, Iranian officials and Western industry sources said.
Iranian airline executives attended the Farnborough Airshow in Britain over the past week and held preliminary discussions with several potential sellers including Japan's Mitsubishi, which is developing a new regional jet, they said.
"Iran is planning to buy some 50 more airplanes of various types soon," an Iranian official said.
At the same time, Iran is continuing to meet Airbus and Boeing to try to resolve headaches surrounding the financing of existing deals to buy some 200 jetliners, needed to renew its fleet.
Earlier this year, the world's two largest planemakers struck provisional deals with IranAir under an agreement between Tehran and world powers to ease sanctions in exchange for curbs on Iran's nuclear activities.
"Yes, there are problems, financial and political, but there have been several meetings with Boeing and Airbus top authorities particularly in the past few weeks in order to resolve the issue and to find a way to overcome the remaining obstacles," an Iranian official close to the talks said.
Iran's Fars News Agency said officials from Airbus and the ministry of roads and urban development were due to discuss potential further plane purchases in Tehran on Sunday.
Airbus could not immediately be reached for comment. Continued...