by WorldTribune Staff, June 30, 2016
A top House Democrat is urging the Obama administration to halt Boeing’s planned sale of more than 100 planes to Iran.
Rep. Brad Sherman of California said it is “virtually certain” Iran will use the planes for nefarious purposes, such as delivering arms to the Syrian regime or the Islamic Republic’s terror proxy Hizbullah.
“Iran Air’s aircraft will undoubtedly be used in the future to continue to funnel lethal assistance to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, to Hizbullah, and to other terrorist entities,” he wrote in a June 29 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.
Boeing said last week it plans to sell 80 planes to Iran Air for $17.6 billion, and lease another 29 aircraft.
Sherman, a senior member of the Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees, said that although Iran Air was removed from a sanctions list as part of the nuclear deal with world powers, the airline is aligned with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which remains under sanction.
Sherman said Iran Air was sanctioned in 2011 for providing material support to the IRGC, and that “there is absolutely no reason to believe that the conduct for which Iran Air was designated has actually stopped.”
“It is almost certain that Iran Air continues to support the IRGC and the Quds Force,” he wrote in the letter.
Sherman said that Iran Air aircraft recently traveled between Abadan and Damascus, a route whose “principal purpose is to transit arms and materiel to forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar Assad.”
“Until Iran gets out of the business of supporting terrorism and supporting Assad’s regime in Syria, the United States should not license the sale of aircraft to Iran Air. It is virtually certain that Iran Air will use these aircraft for nefarious purposes,” he said.