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Iran Air chief: ATR deliveries are 'defeat' for US stance

Iran Air appears not to be giving up on the prospect of continuing with aircraft deliveries, despite the re-introduction of US government sanctions, following the simultaneous arrival of five more ATR 72-600s.

The five aircraft departed Toulouse as a group on the evening of 4 August, taking off at intervals of around 1min, operating nonstop to Urmia in northern Iran where they refuelled.

All five subsequently departed for Tehran Mehrabad where a ceremony was held on 5 August to mark their arrival.

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Iran Air chief executive Farzaneh Sharafbafi said, during the event, that the deliveries were a “defeat” for the “one-sided” decision from the US government, and showed that the European Union could choose to support European companies and Iranian investors.

The easing of nuclear-related sanctions, which had enabled Iran Air to order the ATRs and other aircraft types, is set to be reversed on 6 August.

European Union authorities are set to put into effect an updated “blocking statute” aimed at supporting the nuclear deal.

Sharafbafi says the airline is intending to continue its co-operation with ATR and signals that work is being undertaken to receive further aircraft – including medium- and long-haul types – in the “near future”.

She states that, in the space of eight days, the delivery of the five ATRs was finalised, adding that they will be used for regional development in the country. “We said we’d either find a way or build a path,” Sharafbafi says.

Iran Air took delivery of three Airbus jets last year, but has not received any additional Airbuses for almost a year and a half. Airbus has an order backlog of 97 aircraft for the carrier.

Iranian transport minister Abbas Akhoundi says the deliveries were the result of “positive” actions in conjunction with the European Union, and says that Iran aims to collaborate with other states including India, Turkey and China.

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