House to block Obama’s sale of U.S. planes to Iran

by WorldTribune Staff, November 17, 2016

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass new legislation that would block the sale of American-made aircraft to Iran.

“The American people gave us a mandate to fight radical Islamic terrorism. Preventing aircraft sales to the world’s leading terror state is a pretty good start,” a senior GOP aide familiar with the legislation said. “Clearly this is a top priority for House Republicans — we are making this the first bill we put on the floor after the election. The Boeing-Iran sale is a great opportunity for President-elect Trump to claim an early national security win.”

Iran Air Boeing 747-200
Iran Air Boeing 747-200

The measure, which President Barack Obama has said he would veto, would bar the Secretary of the Treasury from authorizing a transaction by a U.S. financial institution related to the export, or re-export, of commercial aircraft to Iran. And it would revoke any authorities enacted before the bill passed, such as those that allowed the Boeing and Airbus sales.

The measure also limits the role of Export-Import Bank financing of sales to Iran.

The Obama administration said in a statement on Nov. 14 that the legislation would interfere with the U.S.’s ability to uphold its end of the nuclear deal, which includes guarantees that Iran would be able to access the U.S. marketplace for commercial aircraft.

“The bill would undermine the ability of the United States to meet our JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] commitments by effectively prohibiting the United States from licensing the sale of commercial passenger aircraft to Iran for exclusively civil end uses, as we committed to do in the JCPOA, and seeking to deter companies from pursuing permissible business with Iran,” the White House statement said.

Trump has vowed to scrap the JCPOA.

Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican, told the Washington Free Beacon that Republican House lawmakers will easily pass the legislation.

“It’s no secret I’ve been a vocal critic of the Iran deal — it was a horrible idea at the time and it has proven even worse as we’ve learned about secret side deals and more unilateral concessions to the Mullahs,” Roskam said. “But even those who supported the [nuclear deal] should support this bill. Nothing in the Iran deal obligates the U.S. to allow American banks to finance the Islamic Republic’s efforts to rebuilt its air fleet.”

Roskam told the Free Beacon last month that there was reason to expect Iran would use Boeing aircraft for military purposes.

“We should not be surprised to see Iran’s latest military demonstrations feature Boeing 747s,” Roskam said. “This is not hypothetical. We know the military has requisitioned Boeing planes from Iran Air in the past. Boeing is literally enhancing the military capabilities of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.”