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US Due to Overhaul Iranian Planes

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- The shortage of spare parts beleaguering the Iranian aviation industry may soon be improved through a breakthrough deal with the United States.

In October, the US Commerce and State departments approved a temporary suspension of the US-led embargo that has impeded Iran's access to American and Western aircraft parts.

The deal will allow the servicing and supplying of parts to American-made engines on a limited number of Iran Air jets produced by Airbus.

The recommendation, now under consideration by the US Department of Treasury, was made after American aviation officials warned the engines were in need of immediate overhaul.

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.

The cooperation appears to be the first between the two countries in the aviation sector since the Iranian Revolution, when bilateral ties were cut and Washington placed trade sanctions on Tehran.

H.R. Behzadian, a former parliamentarian and former president of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce said the spare parts embargo was tantamount to crimes against humanity because it placed Iranian civilians at risk.

However, IATA said recent crashes that have marred Iran's air safety record were to eastern-built aircraft, meaning there is most likely not a relationship to the western-built parts issue.

Iran's 13 carriers have a fleet of 120 planes, averaging about 16 years old.

Iranian carriers operate a number of American aircraft purchased during the time of the former Pahlavi regime, as well as Airbus planes with engines from American firm GE.

Iran has been banned from purchasing Boeing planes and has had difficulty procuring European planes made with American-made components. As a result, Iran has been forced to purchase Russian aircraft.

... Payvand News - 1/2/07 ... --

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