Senator McCain sees Iranian Aseman Airlines' Boeing deal as entirely legal

By bne IntelliNews April 6, 2017

US Senator John McCain has spoken up for the deal made between Aseman Airlines and Boeing for the purchase of 30 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, describing it as perfectly legal, the Tehran Times reported on April 5.

McCain has long been an opponent of the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and the major powers which last year led to the easing of sanctions against the Iranian economy, but after taking stock of the aircraft deal - which could be worth up to $5bn to the American aircraft maker if an option for a further 30 planes is taken up - he told reporters: “I have opposed the Iranian agreement and I am not interested in doing anything to help the Iranians but what they’ve done is completely legal. They’ve got the money and it’s not a weapons system, so it doesn’t require any involvement from the [US] Congress.”

The Scottish law Minute of Agreement (MoA) signed between Aseman and Boeing for the narrow-body, twin-engine jet airliners was announced on April 4. It will now amount to a test for US President Donald Trump, a vociferous opponent of the Iranian regime and the nuclear deal, the signatories of which include his predecessor Barack Obama. Republican senator McCain is usually a foe of Trump when it comes to the president’s foreign policies.

According to the Iranian daily, another Republican senator, Marco Rubio, took a different view of the prospective Boeing sale, telling media at the US Capitol: “It’s concerning.” Asked if he could or would do anything to block it, he added: “Maybe.”

Aseman has said it expects to finalise the purchase contract for 30 aircraft in two-three months, but Boeing requires clearance from the US State Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) for the sale of the jets.  

Boeing last year agreed to sell 80 aircraft to flag carrier IranAir under the terms of the first deal struck between the two companies since before the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

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