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Iran making great strides in civil aircraft development: Minister

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran is becoming a major state in manufacturing civil aircraft, says the country’s transportation minister.

Iran’s transportation minister says the country is making a good progress in developing its civil aviation sector, adding that aircraft parts are now manufactured inside Iran without any assistance from the foreigners.

“Now our country is an aircraft manufacturer country ... Iran’s aviation industry will make an eye-catching progress in the near future,” said Mohammad Eslami on Wednesday.

The minister said that Iran’s progress in the aviation sector was mainly a result of the sanctions that have sought to restrict the country’s access to the sophisticated foreign technology over the past years.

He said Iran was already among the 10 leading countries of the world in manufacturing military planes, adding that civil aircraft development was also a major priority for the government.

Eslami said Iran was planning to create nine major aviation hubs across the country as part of a program to accommodate more international flights.

He said the aviation sector in Iran was booming fast with more companies becoming involved, adding that some 50,000 people were currently employed in various parts of the industry, including in airlines and in firms providing repair and maintenance services.

The comments come as many had expected Iran’s aviation sector to suffer after the United States began to impose a series of sanctions on the country last year.

Head of Iran’s aviation organization said on Wednesday that the industry had weathered the crisis created by the sanctions.

“The number of planes that fly today is the same as that of the day the sanctions started,” said Ali Abedzadeh, adding, “The experts of this strategic industry have managed to defeat America’s harsh and heavy sanctions.”

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