Iran has increasingly turned to Russia to replace its aging US and European-made airliners, a response to US sanctions that affect the country's aviation industry, the official IRNA news agency reported Monday.
Aviation chief Saeed Hesami said Russian planes were Iran's best option, according to IRNA, despite a string of crashes in recent years involving Russian-made aircraft that have killed hundreds of people.
"We have no option but to buy Russian planes because we have to meet the air transportation needs of the nation," Hesami was quoted as saying by IRNA. "Iran won't allow ... US sanctions to ground its aviation fleet."
US sanctions ban the export of advanced technology to Iran, including spare parts for its fleet of US-built Boeing aircraft. Pressure from Washington has also limited the transfer of equipment for Iran's European-made Airbus planes.