Iran Wants A Skies Full Of Plane For Its Nuclear Deal Dividend

November 3
5:38 AM 2016

It has been almost a year since the nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers went into effect. Meant primarily to curtail Iran's uranium enrichment program, the deal also paved a path to the opening of Iran's doors to the global economy. Since the Islamic Revolution brought fervently anti-American forces into power in 1979, Iran's government and citizens have faced intense sanctions, especially on international financial transactions. This January, the European Union and the United States lifted some of those sanctions.

International air traffic to and from Iran is booming. At the country's main airport in the capital Tehran, for instance, there were 140 more flights during a week last month than a week in May 2015 before the nuclear deal was signed. Earlier U.S. sanctions had prohibited planes with American-made parts from flying to Iran, precluding many airlines from flying there. Both Boeing and Airbus, the two biggest plane manufacturers, use American parts.

Iran Air has had to fly planes from before the Islamic Revolution, as well as Russian-made Tupolev jets due to the sanctions. The airline has an abysmal safety record, and Iranians prefer to fly airlines from the Gulf and Europe. But the massive aircraft order -- which would make Iran Air larger than Air France -- demonstrates the lofty hopes for growth in trade and tourism.

In the years of isolation after the revolution, Iran found ways to be self-sufficient. That protectionism won't fade away quickly, if at all. Takeyh said that Iranian leaders look at what happened in China after that country loosened its adherence to its founding values. Now China is essentially a capitalist country. America reciprocates in kind.

 That's why you won't see any American city in the charts and maps above anytime soon. Patrick Clawson, at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said that the Americans would demand to do their own safety inspections of Iranian airports.

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