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France hopeful ATR will deliver planes to Iran despite US sanctions

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire says he is “hopeful” that turboprop planemaker ATR would get permission from the US to deliver eight regional planes to Iran before August 6, when sanctions against Tehran kick in.

“I am hopeful that the United States will give us permission to deliver these ATRs,” Maire told French broadcaster BFM TV.

“There were eight to be delivered before August 6,” he added, highlighting the “significant share” of the order for ATR’s turnover.

Deliveries of turboprop aircraft were halted in May after the withdrawal of the United States – which must approve any export of aircraft containing more than 10% US-made components – from the Iran nuclear deal and the return of the US sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic.

The equally-owned group by Airbus and the Italian Leonardo had warned earlier this month of the “serious implication” of the decision.

Le Maire expressed his optimism for other sectors, without going into detail.

“I’ve been negotiating for weeks with my counterpart, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and I’m hopeful we’ll get on a number of topics that directly affect our SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and our jobs in US-owned territories,” he said.

“I am also fighting so that in the health sector, in the agri-food sector, which are now out of sanction, there may be funding channels that remain open,” said the French minister.

France had sought, along with other European countries, exemptions from US sanctions for its companies trading with Iran, a request to which the United States objected.