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Sat Jul 30 15:08:52 CAT 2016

Iran to buy 114 Airbus planes this week: minister

AFP | 24 January, 2016 09:32
File photograph of an Airbus A380 flying during the 51st Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport near Paris
An Airbus A380, the world's largest jetliner, participates in a flying display during the 51st Paris Air Show at Le Bourget airport near Paris in this June 15, 2015 file photograph. Shares in Meggitt plunged on October 28, 2015 after the UK engineering firm warned profits this year would be "meaningfully" below forecasts after demand for spare aircraft parts deteriorated and its energy industry business suffered from low oil prices. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/files
Image by: PASCAL ROSSIGNOL / REUTERS

Iran will sign a contract this week to buy 114 Airbus planes from France, during a visit to Paris by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Tehran's transport minister said Sunday.

Abbas Akhoundi, quoted by Iranian media, said the deal "will be signed between Iran Air and Airbus" when Rouhani is in Paris on Wednesday on the final day of his first official European visit.

Rouhani's trip follows the implementation of a nuclear deal with world powers that curbs Tehran's atomic activities in exchange for the lifting of punishing economic sanctions.

Iran desperately needs to modernise its ageing passenger plane fleet, which has only 150 operational planes out of more than 250, according to Akhoundi.

"We have been negotiating for 10 months" for the purchase of planes but "there was no way to pay for them because of banking sanctions," Iranian state media quoted Akhoundi as saying.

"We need 400 long- and mid-range and 100 short-range planes," he added.

Rouhani is to visit Italy and France on January 25-27 to boost Iran's economic ties with Europe.

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