US firms join International Air Show in Iran

By Changiz M. Varzi, for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

On the front page of the Nov. 17 edition of the Reformist Etemad newspaper, a headline in small type, tucked in a corner, read: “Americans in Kish [Island].” The report detailed how American companies are participating in Iran’s 8th International Air Show on Kish Island in the Persian Gulf, even as Iran tries to negotiate deals to buy jets from Airbus and Boeing.

Etemad did not name the US companies participating in the air show, but reported, “Their participation in Iran’s air show is a sign of interest in having closer ties with Iran. However, Iran’s agreements with Airbus and Boeing have been overshadowed by a new [US House] bill, and US President-elect Donald Trump’s remarks have deepened the uncertainty of these deals.”

On Sept. 21, after decades of US sanctions on the Iranian aviation industry, Washington granted licenses to Airbus and Boeing to export passenger planes to Iran’s national carrier, Iran Air. But on Nov. 14, the US House attempted to revoke the permission to grant such licenses. President Barack Obama, in response, promised to veto any bill that blocked aircraft exports to Iran.

Etemad further reported that Iranian officials are unsatisfied with the slow pace of progress in carrying out the terms of the nuclear deal that led to the relaxation of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. Etemad quoted Ali Abedzadeh, the chief executive of Iran Civil Aviation Organization, as saying, “As a result of the nuclear deal, we have seen limited and incomplete relaxation on Iran’s access to aviation services and spare parts.”

Ebtekar daily also reported on the official opening of the air show, quoting Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan as saying, “Despite the partial lifting of sanctions, Iran’s military industry completely relies on domestic knowledge, without depending on other countries.”

Meanwhile, Iranian conservative media focused on other aspects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the lifting of international sanctions. On Nov. 17, Javan daily covered the decision of US lawmakers two days prior to reauthorize the Iran Sanctions Act for another decade. Javan’s front-page headline read: “Suspicious violation of JCPOA by US: America prolongs its animosity with Iran for another 10 years.”

The same day the US House reauthorized the Iran Sanctions Act, Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, warned against violating the nuclear deal. “If the other party violates the nuclear agreement, in response we will immediately implement our technical packages,” he said.

Fars News Agency published an interview with Ebrahim Karkhanei, the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s nuclear committee, on Nov. 17, in which he discussed the perceived breaches of the nuclear deal.

“There is no need for Trump to tear up the nuclear agreement as he promised,” Karkhanei told Fars. “The JCPOA has several times been violated by Americans. The fact that fundamental US sanctions against Iran are still in effect means the Americans have broken the deal.”

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