Boeing in $3-billion deal with Iranian carrier

Boeing yesterday said it had signed a $3-billion deal with Iran's Aseman Airlines for 30 new jetliners.

The new deal adds to a previous $16.6-billion order struck with another Iranian carrier.

The deal will have to be cleared by the US Treasury, and comes as the first significant US business transaction announced with the Islamic Republic since Donald Trump was elected president.

The deal follows the lifting of economic sanctions by the Obama administration last year, in exchange for concessions on Iran's nuclear programme. Trump had slammed the deal during his presidential campaign as ''horrible'' and threatened to renegotiate.

According to commentators, the announcement is likely put the Trump administration in the unenviable position of choosing between taking a tougher stance against Iran and supporting a major manufacturer, one of the US' largest exporters.

Under the deal, Boeing will deliver 30 of its 737 MAX airplanes starting in 2022 and give the Iranian carrier the option of acquiring 30 additional planes. The deal comes after a $25-billion Iranian order with France's Airbus, which competed closely with Boeing for international business.

''Boeing has to be everywhere that Airbus is,'' said Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the nonprofit Lexington Institute, which receives funding from Boeing,  reported.

Meanwhile, Boeing said in a statement that the agreement, which required the government's approval, would create about 18,000 US jobs.

 ''There was always going to be a clash over this issue,'' The Washington Post  quoted Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis at the Teal Group, an aviation research consultancy in Fairfax, Virginia.

''Trump campaigned on getting tough with Iran,'' Aboulafia said, but ''at the end of the day, these are manufacturing jobs. It's really hard to say, 'Yes, we are giving this work to the Europeans.'''