Russia signs deal with Iran in bid to boost aircraft sales


The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsia) and the Civil Aviation Organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding on September 6, 2021, intended to “create favorable conditions for the approval of the standard design of Russian civil aviation equipment when exported to Iran.”

The agreement is the result of negotiations that took place between the two aviation authorities in June 2021, Rosaviatsia explained in a statement. 

Facing difficulties to export its civilian aircraft, Russia could find solace in the coveted Iranian market. 

In May 2018, the United States administration decided to reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran, described by then-newly-elected President Donald Trump as the main sponsor of international terrorism. 

Many companies of the aviation industry on both sides of the Atlantic were affected as a result, annulling hundreds of aircraft sales ‒ worth over $30 billion ‒ to Iran.

Only the Franco-Italian planemaker ATR managed to deliver five aircraft to Iran Air on August 5, 2018, a mere day before new American sanctions took effect.

With the country being under international sanctions since the end of the 1970s, Iran’s civil aviation is in dire need of new aircraft. According to data, the average fleet age of the national carrier Iran Air is 18.6 years.

It is not the first time that Russia makes a push to export its aircraft to the Islamic Republic. In April 2018, two Iranian carriers, Iran Air Tours and its subsidiary Aseman Airlines, signed a $2 billion agreement to purchase 40 Sukhoi Superjet aircraft. 

However, as the Sukhoi regional jet contained over 10% (22%, according to Russian state news RIA) of U.S.-made parts, it fell under the sanctions of the U.S. Treasury. 

Since then, the United Aircraft Corporation, the parent company of Sukhoi, has vowed to “russify” the Superjet in order to ease its export. The work should be completed by 2023. According to the Russian media, Iran has already expressed interest in this new version of the aircraft.


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