Boeing acknowledged that financing for the deal has yet to be determined but said that payment “will be done in full compliance with US sanctions.”
US banks are still barred from direct contact with Iran and large non-American banks have been reluctant to re-enter the market for fear of reputational and political risk.
Ellen Laipson, a distinguished fellow at the Atlantic Council and the Stimson Center, who also served on the National Security Council under the Clinton administration, told Al-Monitor that civil aviation was always a promising area for US-Iran cooperation. “There’s a logic to it,” she said. But she cautioned, “This is also the very beginning of a process. It may end up being a smaller transaction or it might never happen.”
Iran must ensure that the airliners will only be used for civilian purposes and will not be diverted to provide arms and other material to groups such as Hezbollah or President Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria. Riedel said that Iran has in the past used civilian planes for such military purposes.
Riedel finds it likely that the sale will become enmeshed in US presidential politics and said it might be better to push consideration of the deal into 2017.
“My bet is that Hillary [Clinton] will not stand up for the airline business if it’s a question of being soft on Iran,” Riedel said. “What she would do after January is anyone’s guess.”