Iran goes shopping in the West. There’s more at stake than cars and planes
Today the 737 MAX, the latest version of Boeing’s narrow-bodied jet, makes its first flight. It will do so with minimal fanfare. The American aircraft-maker is trailing behind Airbus, its European arch-enemy, which has already clocked in 5,535 orders for the rival A320 (compared to 3,072 for the 737). And the gap is getting even wider. This week Airbus sold another 118 planes to an unexpected client – Iran.
The sale took place during the first European tour by an Iranian leader in almost two decades. Prompted by the recent lifting of Western sanctions, the visit saw France and Italy’s business elite rush to strike deals with a spendthrift Hassan Rouhani. But the occasion was as high in emotions as it was in dollars. Amid talks of a historic rapprochement, protests erupted in Paris over Tehran’s breaches of human and woman rights. People also took to the streets in Italy – over Rome’s decision to appease the Islamic leader by covering up nude statues.Read More