Iran in talks with UK export credit agency over jetliner export funding

(Reuters, Paris, 4 May 2017) Iran is in talks with Britain's export credit agency to facilitate the financing of aircraft sales to state airline IranAir as part of its pact with world powers to lift sanctions over its nuclear program, a senior Iranian official said. IranAir's plan to buy more than 180 jets from Airbus and Boeing is the most visible economic deal on the table after major powers last year lifted most sanctions on Iran in return for restrictions on its nuclear activities. But financing for the purchases has been hard to secure because most Western banks are holding back, concerned about the future of the 2015 agreement after U.S. President Donald Trump called it a bad deal and ordered a review. So far, IranAir has taken delivery of just three Airbus jets, for which it paid cash, industry sources say. Meanwhile, other news reports say that Theresa May’s snap decision to hold general elections in June discourages Britain’s export credit arm from taking defining decisions affecting foreign policy during such a critical time. The government is also likely to postpone dealing with the issue until after the elections. Meanwhile, the Iranian government was under immense pressure to show results of the Nuclear Deal before the country’s elections in May. The Slovakian and Finnish ECAs have also signed deals with Iran.