Jul 29 2009

Iran to Produce Passenger Planes

Iran plans to indigenize production of passenger planes, a senior Iranian official announced on Monday.

"Manufacturing passenger planes is on the agenda of the Ministry of Industries and Mines," Minister of Industries and Mines Ali Akbar Mehrabian told Fars News Agency.

Mehrabian announced that the ministry has formed an expert group to the very same end. The group is due to conclude agreements with the companies possessing the necessary know-how.

The minister further underlined the country's need to the domestic manufacturing of passenger planes, and expressed the hope that the move would pave the way for indigenization of airplane manufacturing in Iran.

Spare Parts
Iran said on Monday that it welcomes supply of spare parts for its passenger planes by any country, including the US, describing western boycott on its aviation industry as a serious violation of human rights.

"Imposition of these sanctions since the onset of the Revolution signifies violation of human rights and if any individual or any of the countries that have imposed these embargoes (on Iran) wants to correct the past mistakes, there won't be any reason for Iran to reject it," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told reporters in a weekly press conference.

Qashqavi made the remarks in response to a US State Department official who spoke of his country's offer to help improve safety standards of the Iranian air fleet.

Deputy Director of the Office of Iranian Affairs at the US State Department David Foley has also offered to help Iran with the construction of civilian nuclear facilities and installations.

Iran witnessed two air crashes recently. The first incident happened when a Tupolev-154M crashed shortly after take-off from Tehran en route to the Armenian capital of Yerevan on July 15, killing all 168 passengers onboard.

10 days later on Friday, at least 16 people were killed and 21 others were injured when an Aria Air plane crash-landed in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

Asked during the same press conference about a recent visit by the Managing Director of the state-run Bank Melli Iran ( BMI ) Mahmoud Reza Khavari to Britain where Iran's assets are frozen, Qashqavi said, "During the meeting, there was no word of fresh sanctions against Iran but the two sides just discussed the previous sanctions."

A Luxembourg-based Court of First Instance announced in a statement early July that the European Union "upholds the fund-freezing decision" on Melli Bank, a British public limited company owned by BMI , because of the sanctions imposed against Iran over its nuclear work.

The court said the decision was made because the bank is under EU sanctions for allegedly providing services to Iran's nuclear program.

Second-Hand Planes
Deputy Transport Minister Ahmad Majidi said the purchase of second-hand passenger planes from Eastern countries has been banned.

The decision was made as Majidi held talks on Sunday night with Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, members of the Majlis Construction committee, and Ala'eddin Broujerdi, the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee chairman.

"The Majlis speaker insisted on strict observation of flight standards, recruiting best experts in the aviation organization, and a renovation of airplanes," Majidi told ISNA.

He said Larijani insisted on an overhaul of the Russian-made airplanes used by Iranian air fleet and purchasing newly-built Russian airplanes after their safety standards are carefully examined.

Majidi also said the parliamentarians present at the Sunday night meeting pledged to allocate the necessary budget for buying new airplanes.

© Iran Daily 2009

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