EU asks US to consider plane sales to Iran
European countries have asked the United States to consider selling new airplanes to Iran as part of a proposed package of incentives aimed at resolving the nuclear crisis with Tehran, diplomats said on Friday.
The Europeans have also proposed a regional dialogue that some hope could eventually draw the Washington and Tehran, adversaries for a generation, into direct talks. READ MORE
The package was formally presented to the United States, Russia and China shortly after it was agreed on Thursday by Britain, France, Germany and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, one diplomat told Reuters.
When the United States first signed on to a European initiative in early 2005 aimed at persuading Iran to abandon nuclear weapons-related activities, it agreed to consider selling airplane spare parts as an inducement to Tehran.
But Iran, under sweeping U.S. sanctions for three decades, has also asked for planes to modernize its aging fleet.
One question for Washington now is "could we go beyond spare parts and consider providing Iran with new planes, which would necessarily need acceptance by the U.S.," a senior European diplomat told reporters.
Another European diplomat said the package "will have some element concerning airplanes … The proposal is framed toward what the Iranians told us they were interested in last year before negotiations ended."
The United States and major powers are involved in a diplomatic stand-off with Iran over its nuclear program — which the West says is aimed at producing nuclear weapons but which Tehran insists is purely a peaceful energy program.