While many US sanctions against Iran, including those related to terrorism, remain, the recent nuclear agreement contained a specific carve-out for providing US civilian airliners, parts and related services to Iran.
The Boeing deal, if it goes through, would be “a huge change in American policy,” Riedel said.
For Iranians, such a sale would be concrete evidence of the benefits of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and address a chronic safety problem. Many of Iran’s civilian airliners are old, including Boeings provided before the 1979 revolution, and they have a pattern of experiencing deadly mechanical failures.
A senior Iranian official, responding to an email from Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, said the Boeing deal “is an important step showing that all sides can benefit from the implementation of JCPOA. Iran is open to dealing with other US companies, including [medical equipment supplier] General Electric and others.”
Asked for his reaction, Nasser Hadian, a professor of political science at the University of Tehran, told Al-Monitor, “Although it was wrong to sanction the selling of civilian airplanes from the beginning, selling them can undoubtedly enhance US soft power in the eyes of ordinary Iranians. It is good for the proponents of the deal in Iran as well. They can argue that fruits of the JCPOA are becoming gradually and increasingly accessible.” Hadian added, “It is good for the American economy by creating more jobs and it is good for Iranians because they can travel safely.”