U.S. House votes to block sale of commercial aircraft to Iran

by WorldTribune Staff, September 14, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 13 voted to prevent sales of commercial aircraft to Iran.

Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican, said the move was necessary due to Iran’s use of commercial airliners to transport weapons and troops to Syria. Iran has also used commercial flights to smuggle weapons to its terror proxy Hizbullah.

Iran has used commercial airliners to transport troops to Syria and smuggle weapons to Hizbullah.

“Until Iran ceases using commercial aircraft to support terrorists and war criminals, western companies ought not be allowed to sell Iranian airliners more aircraft that they can use to fuel Assad’s brutal war,” Roskam said during House floor debate.

Roskam offered two amendments to a 2018 government spending package that would specifically prohibit the use of funds to authorize financial transactions for the sales and prevent the Office of Foreign Assets Control from clearing licenses to allow aircraft sales.

Democrats warned the move would undermine the Iran nuclear deal, The Hill reported.

Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon said blocking the sales would result in “penalizing American companies for no good purpose” and threaten the nuclear deal.

“I think being able to maintain our commitments under the agreement with the [Iran nuclear deal] is important. That Iranian nuclear agreement has held and is one of the few bright spots in that region,” Blumenauer said.

Everett, Washington-based Boeing struck a multibillion-dollar deal with Iran in the last year to sell planes.

Roskam and Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, urged Trump in April to suspend aircraft sales to Iran.

“The possibility that U.S.-manufactured aircraft could be used as tools of terror is absolutely unacceptable and should not be condoned by the U.S. government,” they wrote in a letter to Trump.

Iran Air has ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is under U.S. sanctions. But Iran Air was also granted sanctions relief as part of the 2015 nuclear accord.

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