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House Passes Measure to Block Airliner Sale to Iran Air

Image: House Passes Measure to Block Airliner Sale to Iran Air
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By    |   Friday, 08 Jul 2016 11:31 AM

The House of Representatives passed legislation late Thursday that would prevent Boeing from completing a deal to sell aircraft to Iran, and although the Obama administration supports the sale, the measure passed without much argument from Democrats.

Last month Boeing announced plans to sell 80 commercial aircraft and lease 29 more planes to Iran Air for $25 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. Some Republicans and Democrats worried that the jets could be used for unacceptable purposes.

The State Department has listed Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984.

"Iran Air's aircraft will undoubtedly be used in the future to continue to funnel lethal assistance to Assad, to Hezbollah, and to other terrorist entities," Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to several members of President Barack Obama's cabinet, including Secretary of State John Kerry, Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

"I'm extremely concerned that by relaxing the rules, the Obama administration has allowed U.S. companies to be complicit in weaponizing the Iranian regime," Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., told The Washington Times on Thursday. Huizenga chairs the House Financial Services subcommittee on trade.

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., introduced the measure to block the sale as an amendment to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act 239-185. His office told The Hill that the amendment, as well as another targeting similar sales by Boeing's European rival Airbus, had "overwhelming, bipartisan support."

The amendments prevent the Office of Foreign Assets Control from using funds to authorize both licenses needed for Iran to buy U.S. aircraft and loans from U.S. financial institutions used to buy U.S. aircraft.

American banks are already prohibited from doing business with Iran, and even foreign lenders can't complete dollar-based transactions with Iran through U.S. banks.

Despite his attempts at improving relations with the West, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani faces strong criticism at home for his inability to break down trade barriers with the United States, while organizations that back better relations with the Persian Gulf nation fault critics of normalizing trade.

"It is no secret that opponents of the Iran nuclear accord continue in their attempts to upend U.S. obligations under the agreement," the National Iranian American Council said to Foreign Policy.

"By attempting to block Boeing's pending sale of commercial passenger aircraft to Iran, opponents of the Iran nuclear accord are also seeking to undermine significant U.S. commercial interests and to impose humanitarian suffering on the Iranian people by denying them access to safe air travel." 

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The House of Representatives passed legislation late Thursday that would prevent Boeing from completing a deal to sell aircraft to Iran, and although the Obama administration supports the sale, the measure passed without much argument from Democrats.
House, Legislation, Block, Airliner, Sale, Iran
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2016-31-08
Friday, 08 Jul 2016 11:31 AM
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