WASHINGTON --- The United States has issued a license to France's Airbus for the sale of 106 commercial planes to Iran Air, Iran's flagship carrier, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The move in the waning months of Democratic President Barack Obama's administration to further unlock jetliner sales to Iran is likely to raise the ire of Republicans in Congress and President-elect Donald Trump. Trump has said he would dismantle the 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran, which includes a measure allowing U.S. and European companies to sell Iran civilian aircraft.
Licenses allowing such sales could easily be withdrawn by the Trump administration if he chose to do so, sanctions experts said. He would likely face opposition from U.S. allies and other world powers who were partners in negotiating the deal to lift some sanctions in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.
The U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control issued the license on Monday, the source said on condition of anonymity. An Airbus spokesman confirmed that the company had received the OFAC license, but declined to confirm the exact number of planes approved.
Although Airbus is based in France, it must have U.S. approval to sell planes to Iran because at least 10 percent of the aircraft's components are American-made. Tehran provisionally ordered more than 100 jets each from Airbus and Boeing this year.
Before the license was issued on Monday, Airbus had U.S. permission for the sale of 17 jets to Iran.
Members of Trump's transition team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the license. (end of excerpt)
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