TEHRAN, Dec. 12 (UPI) — Boeing has finalized a $16.6 billion contract to sell 80 jets to Iran Air, the managing director of the Civil Aviation Organization of Islamic Republic of Iran announced Sunday.
During a signing ceremony in Tehran, Managing Director Farhad Parvaresh said the planes will be delivered to Iran during a 10-year period.
The airline will receive 50 Boeing 737 planes and 30 Boeing 777s, starting in 2018, Boeing said in a release. The deal was originally signed in June but required government approval. Iran agreed not to use the planes for military purposes.
The deal is easily the biggest between U.S. and Iranian businesses since the 1979 revolution, which shut off normalized relations between the countries.
The sale was possible because President Barack Obama lifted economic sanctions on Iran in September. Shortly after the deal was signed, the Treasury Department approved the delivery of Boeing passenger planes to Iran.
Because the United States still continues to block companies from doing business with Iran in U.S. dollars, the financing of the plane deal was complicated.
The lifting of sanctions is an offshoot of the Iran accord, reached in July 2015 between the United Nations Security Council members — the United States, Britain, China, France and Russia — and Germany.
The accord was opposed by Republican legislators and President-elect Donald Trump, who called it “the stupidest deal of all time.”
Boeing touted the benefits of the deal for U.S. workers.
“Today’s agreement will support tens of thousands of U.S. jobs directly associated with production and delivery of the 777-300ERs and nearly 100,000 U.S. jobs in the U.S. aerospace value stream for the full course of deliveries,” Boeing said in a release.
Last week, Trump threatened to cancel Boeing’s contract to a new Air Force One, saying a $4 billion cost is too high.
Boeing also received a license to help Iran Air find 29 other Boeing aircraft from leasing companies.
Airbus, which is Boeing’s principal business rival and based in Europe, has a previous deal with Iran Air for 118 planes.