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Iran in talks to buy 48 Airbus helicopters

An Airbus Emergency Medical Service helicopter [Airbus]
An Airbus Emergency Medical Service helicopter [Airbus]

Iran is holding talks with European planemaker Airbus to buy 48 helicopters for civilian use, an Iranian official was on Saturday quoted as saying, as Iran continues its shopping spree of Western aircraft after the lifting of sanctions.

Iran’s Financial Tribune daily quoted Deputy Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan as saying:

The Health Ministry is planning to order 45 HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) helicopters and the purchase is being negotiated by the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development

“Ports and Maritime Organisation is also planning to hold a tender to purchase three search-and-rescue helicopters,” he added.

Airbus Helicopters, the world’s largest commercial helicopter maker. An Airbus Helicopters spokesman said: “We don’t comment on discussions we may or may not be having with potential customers”.

An Airbus Emergency Medical Service helicopter [Airbus]

An Airbus Emergency Medical Service helicopter [Airbus]

Iran has ordered more than 200 planes since international sanctions against the country were lifted last year in return for curbs on the country’s nuclear activities.

Flag-carrier IranAir has ordered 100 planes from Airbus, 80 from US rival Boeing and 20 ATR turboprops, but implementing the deals has been hampered by uncertainty over financing.

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump said he did not believe that Iran was living up to the spirit of the 2015 deal to curtail its nuclear weapons programme. But it was not immediately clear whether Washington may take measures that could affect Tehran’s plane purchases.

Read: Iran’s parliament votes to increase missile funds following US sanctions

In June, Airbus said two other Iranian airlines had committed to buying 73 planes in a last-minute flurry of deals for the aircraft manufacturer at the Paris Airshow.

Fakhrieh-Kashan said Iran was holding negotiations to merge the helicopter order into the IranAir-Airbus contract signed in December, Financial Tribune reported.

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