IRAN HAS MADE it known that Airbus Industrie is in talks over a $1 billion contract to supply up to 17 aircraft to Iran Air. The move appears to be timed to heighten European opposition to the US trade embargo against Iran.

Iran Air is understood to be discussing the acquisition of ten International Aero Engines V2500-powered A321s and seven Rolls-Royce Trent 700-powered A330s.

The talks became public on 23 May, the day before a meeting between US President Bill Clinton and German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, which takes place amid US efforts to step up the embargo.

Airbus denies any contact with the Iran, although two new Airbus A300-600Rs, equipped with General Electric CF6-80C2 engines, were ordered by Iran Air in 1992, and delivered in 1994. The US engines were not considered technologically sensitive.

Source: Flight International