Procurement: Iran Gets What It Wants


December 12, 2011:  Despite the sanctions against Iran they still manage to get aircraft and equipment that is not supposed to be sold to Iran. A recent example was embarrassing for Germany when a former German VIP airliner showed up in Iranian service. The German Airbus 310-304 was built in 1989 and was in East German service when the two Germanies united in 1990. The German government converted the aircraft to VIP use (with a bedroom and very comfortable seating all around, plus a conference room, and extra communications gear.) The aircraft served in this role until earlier this year when it was replaced by a more modern Airbus 340. The older aircraft was then sold as government surplus. The buyer was a Ukrainian investor group, which paid $4.2 million. The Ukrainians then turned around and sold the Airbus 310-304 to Mahan Air, an Iranian airline that has managed to get Airbus aircraft in the past, despite the embargo. The usual drill is that a German airline sells an old Airbus aircraft to someone in Ukraine and Mahan Air ends up with the German plane.

Now sanctions are planned against Mahan Air and its owners. Although privately owned the U.S. has previously accused Mahan Air of illegally delivering weapons overseas at the behest of the Iranian government. This is but one of many scams Iran uses to get around the embargoes and sanctions. These efforts don't stop Iran from getting stuff but imposes additional costs and delays.



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