US to Sell Aircraft Parts to Iran

A02331123.jpgThe Bush administration has notified Congress that the United States would export parts for US-origin aircraft to Iran. Officials said State and Commerce have designated a company for the aircraft spare parts export license.

The recommendation has been relayed to the Treasury Department, which bans all transactions with Iran. Officials said the State Department and Commerce Department have recommended such a move in an effort to improve Iranian air safety.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the license, approved on Sept. 29, would enable the export of spare and replacement parts and technical data for the repair and overhaul of a “limited number” of US-made turbine engines on Airbus aircraft. McCormack said these aircraft have been operated by Iran Air, which has sustained several crashes over the last four years.

“The [State] Department’s recommendation is based on an airworthiness warning issued by the Federal Aviation Administration that calls for the immediate overhaul of these engines,” McCormack said.

Under the recommendation, the airplane engine parts would not be shipped to Iran. Instead, the components would be exported to unidentified third countries, which would conduct the repairs for Iran Air.

Officials did not identify the third countries. Russia and Ukraine have been leading suppliers to Iran Air.

“Our recommendation is consistent with the U.S. government’s commitment to promote international safety-of-flight standards and ensure the safety of all aviation passengers, including the citizens of Iran,” McCormack said.

Britain and France have already been selling aircraft and engine parts to Iran. In 2005, the government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Teheran ensured London that the spare parts would not be directed to the Iranian military.

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