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Iran plans to buy aircraft from France to build up ageing fleet

Tehran has said it will buy over a hundred airplanes from France. The deal will be signed during President Rouhani's visit to Paris this week.

Tehran's transport minister said on Sunday the country planned to acquire 114 Airbus planes in an effort to refurbish its ageing passenger fleet.

Iran Air will sign the deal when President Hassan Rouhai visits France next week.

The Iranian transport ministry was quoted as saying it had been negotiating for the planes for the past ten months but couldn't pay for them due to the international sanctions implemented against Iran.

The announcement came as aviation industry experts convened in Tehran.

"It's a really exciting time, there's never been a situation like this," aviation consultant Peter Harbison told the AFP news agency. "A whole array of different aviation services and new jobs are obviously going to be created."

More plans to expand fleet

Iran hopes to boost tourism to the country following its nuclear accord with the United States, Europe and other countries last year. It says it wants to acquire 400 long- and mid-range and 100 short-range planes.

Only nine of the country's 67 airports are even operational.

The transport ministry also said it plans to negotiate with the American company Boeing, although no deals are yet in place.

Rouhani is visiting France and Italy in an effort to boost economic ties with Europe.

blc/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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