GOP lawmaker pushes Boeing to cancel Iran contracts

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill., is pushing Boeing to take the final step of canceling an agreement to sell dozens of jetliners to Iran, under an agreement reached after the 2015 implementation of the nuclear deal between the regime and leading world powers.

“It’s time for Boeing, Airbus, and all Western companies looking to enter the Iranian market to act morally and decisively, and walk away from selling the Iranian regime aircraft it will use to sow chaos in the region,” Roskam told the Washington Examiner Thursday.

The Illinois Republican has discouraged such deals for years, arguing that the contracts help prop up a pariah regime, and will let Iran use the 777 jetliners to pull double-duty for military or terrorist purposes. But he’s renewing the push in response to Boeing’s announcement that the loss of Iranian business wouldn’t hurt the company.

“I can tell you with confidence that we have continued to build risk mitigation into our 777 production plan,” Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said in a Wednesday conference call. “If those orders do come to fruition, if we do ultimately deliver airplanes, those represent opportunities for us but we are going to follow the U.S. government’s lead and we have ensured that … we are not dependent on those aircraft.”

The company has previously defended sales to Iran as a boon for American workers, but the delivery of those planes has been delayed as President Trump mulls a renewal of the economic sanctions that former President Barack Obama waived under the nuclear deal.

“As Iran continues to use commercial aircraft to fuel Assad’s war machine, Boeing’s recent announcement makes clear that selling planes to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism has never been a business necessity or about American jobs,” Roskam said.

Iran, in the meantime, is looking to replace the Boeing jetliners with Russian-made aircraft.

“This is a clear sign that the deal is stuck,” Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Examiner.

Ottolenghi stopped short of insisting that Boeing kill the deal immediately. “[T]his is a political decision and it is up to the President of the United States, not the CEO of Boeing, to decide whether U.S. manufacturers can sell commercial aircraft to Iran,” he said. “Given that many Iranian commercial airlines have airlifted weapons and military personnel to Syria, it should not be so controversial for the president to provide Boeing with the legal framework to rescind its agreements with Iranian clients.”

Roskam’s team argued that Trump should put a crimp in the sale, even if the administration remains in the JCPOA.

“This is separate from the nuclear issue, and the U.S. has maintained the ability to block these sales from the beginning if Iran Air was found using planes illicitly,” an aide said. “This issue is emblematic of the key flaws of the JCPOA, which binds U.S. ability to target Iran’s other malign activity. Resanctioning Iran Air before the 12th or after the 12th would send the right message that no Iranian entity is off limits if it is engaging in sanctionable behavior.”

Source » washingtonexaminer

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