Russia says in talks for Superjet sales to Iran
Russia’s Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov says his country is in talks to sell Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger planes to Iran.
“Such talks are being held,” Sokolov told reporters of possible sales of the 108-seat SSJ100 which is Russia’s first new airliner developed since the fall of the Soviet Union.
“Not only Superjets, but also other technology of certain interest to our Iranian comrades is being met (by Russia),” Russian media quoted him as saying.
There was no immediate comment from Iranian officials on the subject.
The SSJ100 project has full state support, with President Vladimir Putin taking a personal interest to revive Russia’s commercial aircraft industry and compete with the world’s leading jetmakers.
Last year, Putin announced $1.8 billion to prop up Sukhoi’s parent company United Aircraft Corporation in the face of EU sanctions.
Since its maiden flight in 2011, as many as 50 Sukhoi Superjet 100s have been delivered. Russia’s Aeroflot is reportedly the only operator of the aircraft.
The project, however, was dealt a blow after a SSJ100 crashed in Malaysia last year. In February, Aeroflot reportedly grounded four Superjets due to technical problems.
The announcement for possible sales to Iran comes in the wake of Tuesday breakthrough in nuclear negotiations, which has unleashed pent-up interest in business with the Islamic Republic.
Iranian officials have said the county will need 400-500 civilian aircraft worth at least $20 billion in the next decade to renovate its aging fleet which has suffered under years of US and European sanctions.
With the last remaining hurdle to normal business with Iran all but removed, major aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus have indicated intention to sell planes to Tehran.
On Wednesday, the IRNA news agency quoted President Hassan Rouhani as saying that the historic conclusion of nuclear negotiations had succeeded in having “aviation sanctions removed”.