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US gives Boeing, GE license to sell spare parts to Iran

Published time: April 05, 2014 00:38
Reuters / Lucy Nicholson

Reuters / Lucy Nicholson

The US Treasury has awarded American-based Boeing and GE a license to sell spare parts to Iran. The move is part of a temporary sanctions relief deal that began in January, Reuters reported. The deal breaks a long trade silence between the US and Iran.

General Electric's (GE) application was approved on Friday, said the company’s spokesman, Rick Kennedy. The application requested to service 18 engines sold to Iran in the late 1970s.

The spokesman added that the service will be completed at facilities owned by GE or Germany's MTU Aero Engines.

Boeing, the world’s largest airplane company, also received a license this week and will now be in touch with Iran to determine which spare parts will be exported, according to the company’s spokesman.

The granted license does not extend to sales of new planes and limits the company to only selling parts to ensure the safety of older planes purchased by Iran before the 1979 revolution.

"It's very limited," said the spokesman. "We take the safety of flight issue very seriously.”

Iran needs new plane parts, as its jets have passed their service life and need proper replacements. Over the past two decades, Iran has had more than 200 accidents which led to more than 2,000 deaths, according to the official news agency IRNA.

All business activity between the US and Iran was brought to an end after the 1979 US hostage crisis, which was followed by US sanctions.

The US Treasury spokesperson said the department does not issue comments about licenses, Reuters reported.

The relief deal was struck between Iran and six world powers – the UK, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the US – in November.

Under the agreement, Tehran receives sanction relief in return for steps to curb its nuclear program. The deal included easing restrictions on the trade of petrochemicals and precious metals, as well as an insurance provision for oil shipments. The ban on vessels to transport Iranian crude will also be lifted as part of the Joint Plan of Action.