Summary:The US aerospace companies are seeking permission to sell airliner parts to Iran for the first time in three decades, under Geneva deal.
At least two leading manufacturers, Boeing (BA.N) and engine maker General Electric (GE)(GE.N), have applied for export licenses in a six-month window agreed by Iran and six world powers in November, industry officials and other sources familiar with the matter said.
If approved, the sales would be the first acknowledged dealings between U.S. aerospace companies and Iran since the 1979 U.S.
Rival European groups, however, have been slower to react because of doubts over the status of the European Union's complex Iranian sanctions legislation and fears of a backlash from the United States, which had warned them not to rush into dealings with Iran.
Other potential obstacles include uncertainty over terms and conditions for exports and the difficulty of finding banks willing to handle the transactions, which must be completed by July 20.
A GE spokesman said his company had been asking since 2004 for permission to provide parts and maintenance for engines for safety reasons, without profiting from the scheme. GE, the world's largest maker of jet engines by sales, refiled its request after the sanctions relief came into force, he added.
"It's entirely for flight safety," Rick Kennedy said.
A source familiar with the matter said that Boeing, the world's biggest manufacturer of passenger jets, had also filed a request for permission to export parts to Iran.
"I have a pile of requests. There are limited situations in which we would consider this - for example, if Iranair had a problem with a specific part and we had one in stock - but we are not actively seeking to export," a top official with a leading European aerospace company said.
"We will wait at least to see whether the six-month agreement is extended and preferably a more general agreement that gives lasting resolution to political issues. This is still more of a political stage than a commercial one."
"We are considering a few requests; however, no licenses have been applied for," an Airbus spokesman said.