House Lawmakers Set To Reject Obama’s Plan For Sale Of Aircraft To Iran

"Clearly this is a top priority ..."

November 16, 2016 at 4:49pm

The House is expected to pass legislation Wednesday that will prevent the Obama administration from facilitating the sale of U.S. aircraft to Iran, senior congressional sources told the Washington Free Beacon.

The bill would block the administration from granting a legal exemption to Boeing, which is trying to finalize a multibillion-dollar aircraft deal with Iran.
President Obama has promised to veto the legislation.

The sources said the planes Iran was going to receive would be used to try to rebuild the country’s air force rather than for civilian purposes.

They also said lawmakers weren’t happy with the Obama administration’s ongoing diplomacy with Tehran, including the controversial 2015 nuclear agreement that opened the door to the commercial aircraft sales.

President-elect Donald Trump has continually and adamantly opposed the nuclear deal, and many will be looking to see what steps he takes in either renegotiating the agreement or rejecting it altogether.

Trump and his campaign have also said that in general they will be much more firm with the Islamic Republic than the Obama administration has been.

“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 Republican aide familiar with the impending legislation told the Free Beacon.

The aide continued, “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.”

The White House on Monday warned that the proposed legislation would hurt America’s ability to keep up its end of the nuclear deal, which guarantees that commercial aircraft will be made available to Iran for “civil end uses.”

“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 said in a statement.

According to Rep Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), House lawmakers will “easily pass the legislation.” Roskam has been a vocal critic of the nuclear deal and Iran’s continued rebuilding of its military.

A popular argument against the aircraft exemption has been the fact that Iran has had a history of turning commercial airliners into military planes for its air force.

Roskam said Iran has been able to transform commercial aircraft since the 1970s and that there was no reason this wouldn’t be possible again.

“We should not be surprised to see Iran’s latest military demonstrations feature Boeing 747s,” he said. “It is incredibly irresponsible for any American company to sell products to the Islamic Republic that can easily be used for military purposes.”

“This is not hypothetical,” Roskam added. “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.”