Treasury chief says reviewing Iran's
Send a link to a friend
[May 25, 2017]
By David Lawder
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury is
reviewing licenses for Boeing Co and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran,
department head Steven Mnuchin said on Wednesday, telling lawmakers he
would increase sanctions pressure on Iran, Syria and North Korea.
"We will use everything within our power to put additional sanctions on
Iran, Syria and North Korea to protect American lives," Mnuchin said in
testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee. "I can assure you
that's a big focus of mine and I discuss it with the president."
Mnuchin did not elaborate on the review of the licenses, which were
issued under a 2015 agreement between Tehran and world powers to lift
sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear activities.
His statements followed President Donald Trumpís Middle East trip, in
which he called on Iran to stop funding "terrorists and militias." The
review suggests that Trump's support for Boeing's defense and jetliner
businesses could have political limits.
Iran has accused Washington of supporting terrorism by backing rebels in
Syria and says halting the airplane deals would breach the 2015 nuclear
Mnuchin told the Ways and Means hearing that sanctions "really work" and
were responsible for bringing Iran to the negotiating table ahead of the
For Boeing, losing the IranAir deal could affect 777 production, since
15 of the widebody jetliners are included in the first approved batch of
Boeing aircraft due for delivery to IranAir by 2020. Deliveries start in
May next year.
Boeing said in December it would cut 777 output by 40 percent this year
under plans that include IranAir's still-tenative order.
IranAir has agreed to buy 200 U.S. and European passenger aircraft worth
up to $37 billion at list prices, though such deals typically include
big discounts. They include 80 jets from Boeing, 100 from Airbus and 20
turboprops from Franco-Italian ATR. All the aircraft need U.S. licenses
because of their reliance on U.S. parts.
"Boeing continues to follow the lead of the U.S. government with regards
to working with Iran's airlines, and any and all contracts with Iranís
airlines are contingent upon U.S. government approval," a spokeswoman
said by email.
[to top of second column]
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discusses the Trump
administration's budget plan during the Peterson Foundation's 2017
Fiscal Summit in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
An Airbus spokesman had no immediate comment.
In its first business with the Islamic Republic since U.S. President
Donald Trump took office vowing a tougher stance on Iran in January,
Boeing last month announced a tentative deal to sell 30 jets to Iran
Aseman Airlines, its third-largest carrier.
Boeing said it would apply for licenses for the deal.
People involved in the deals say the Treasury has so far issued
licenses for the main contracts between Western suppliers and
IranAir, but that many need to be renewed beyond 2020.
IranAir does not need further approvals to take delivery of the
first 70 or so aircraft, they say, though legal experts have said
the U.S. Treasury can withdraw licenses at any time.
About a third of the Airbus jets, or some 37, also are due to arrive
by 2020, including three already delivered. IranAir last week took
delivery of four ATR turboprops and plans to take the remaining 16
Even with licenses in place, bankers say talks between Iran and
Western banks to fund deliveries of the aircraft have been disrupted
by concerns that sanctions could be reintroduced or that banks could
be penalized for dealing with Iran.
(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Paris, Alwyn Scott in
Seattle; editing by Cynthia Osterman and Andrew Hay)
[© 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2017 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.