Middle East

Iran welcomes Airbus as first post-sanctions airliner

Pilot of IranAir's new Airbus plane waves national flag after landing at Mehrabad airport, Tehran. 12 Jan 2017 Image copyright AP
Image caption The pilot waved an Iranian flag from the window of the Airbus after landing in Tehran

Iran has taken delivery of its first Western-built passenger plane in decades, following the lifting of sanctions last year.

The Airbus A321 landed in Tehran to an official ceremony that included Transport Minister Abbas Akhoundi.

IranAir will eventually take possession of 100 planes from Airbus and 80 from Boeing.

World powers agreed to lift sanctions against Iran in return for its curbing of nuclear activities.

The Airbus 321 had flown from Toulouse in France and its passengers included company chief Fabrice Bregier.

Correspondents say Thursday's arrival is being seen as symbolic of Iran's emergence from decades of economic isolation.

State TV called it "a historic moment for Iran, signalling the end of the sanctions era for the country".

"This is a prelude to the delivery of other aircraft and the renovation of Iran's ageing air fleet," it added.

The IranAir fleet is among the oldest in the world, experts say, and has relied on parts being smuggled into the country to keep its planes flying.