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Iran Mulls Purchase of Russian Superjet 100 Airliners, Medical Helicopters

© Sputnik / Mikhail Voskresenskiy / Go to the mediabankSukhoi Superjet at the opening of the MAKS-2015 International Aerospace Salon in the town of Zhukovsky near Moscow
Sukhoi Superjet at the opening of the MAKS-2015 International Aerospace Salon in the town of Zhukovsky near Moscow - Sputnik International
Talks about a possible delivery of Russian medium-haul Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger planes to Iran have been going on since late-2015. With the international sanctions now gone, Tehran wants to overhaul its fleet of passenger planes.

​Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that talks were underway about exporting Superjet 100 passenger planes and medical helicopters to Iran.

"The agenda includes possible deliveries of modern medium-haul planes, Sukhoi Superjet 100s, and medical service helicopters to Iran," Putin said after meeting his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in Moscow.

In an interview with Sputnik Persian, RusIranExpo Company CEO Alexander Sharov was optimistic about the Superjet’s future in Iran.

Sukhoi Superjet 100 - Sputnik International
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“Even though Airbus and Boeing have signed a raft of legally-binding export deals with Tehran, thus far only three of the 180 Airbus jets have been supplied. The situation with Boeing is equally lackluster and only a couple of five- and six-year-old Bombardier jets have so far been delivered to Iran,” he said.

The resumption of negotiations for the purchase of Superjet 100s by Iranian companies means that the Russian manufacturer is ready to supply high-quality aircraft for less than what is offered by Western companies, Sharov noted.

“In terms of quality/price ratio our planes are better,” Sharov said.

He added, however, that the Western manufacturers offer better financing and insurance terms.

“They also have at their disposal frozen Iranian assets, so they will have no problem supplying planes registered in the West. For example, the Airbus jets already delivered to Iran are registered in Ireland.”

The SSJ100 is a twin-engine plane made by Russia's Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company. It can transport up to 98 passengers at a distance of up to 2,700 miles, and costs around $36 million in its basic configuration. The jet made its maiden flight in May 2008.

March 28, 2017. Russian President Vladimir Putin and President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, left, during a meeting. - Sputnik International
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Alexander Sharov also mentioned the importance of building a direct rail link with Iran, which would serve the two countries’ everyday transport needs and could also meet those of the New Silk Road economic project: “First of all, we need a direct and  wide-gauge rail line running to the Iranian border and then connecting with the country’s narrow, European-gauge, rail system. This would effectively end Iran’s economic isolation. All they now have is a ferry line to Turkey across Lake Van. Even the famous Orient Express, which runs from Budapest to Tehran, needs a ferry to cross the Bosphorus Strait on a train ferry to get from Europe to Asia and back.”

He added that a transit route across Azerbaijan would provide a direct railway link to Iran.

“We could even talk about the New Silk Way project because with the high cost of transit via Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan cargoes have to be shipped by sea,” Alexander Sharov said.

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