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Iran Orders 50 Brazilian Planes In Lease-Purchase Deal

Iran has ordered 50 planes from Brazil's Embraer, the world's third biggest commercial aircraft manufacturer, to modernize its aging aircraft fleet, a government spokesman said on February 23.

Like other orders since the lifting of sanctions on January 16, it will be a lease-purchase deal, spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said.

"The government is not going to spend its limited resources on things like buying planes," he said.

Iran has already announced orders for 118 Airbus aircraft and up to 40 planes from ATR, a European turboprop aircraft manufacturer.

The Airbus deal is worth $10 to $11 billion, and is also a lease-purchase deal, Nobakht said.

About 80 to 85 percent of the financing will come from Airbus and European banks, Iran Air's chief executive Farhad Parvaresh told reporters.

Iran's aviation industry before sanctions were lifted was under a U.S. embargo that since 1995 had prevented Western manufacturers from selling Tehran equipment or spare parts.

The embargo hindered maintenance operations and grounded part of Iran's aging fleet. Iran needs 400 to 500 aircraft over the next decade to modernize the fleet.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters