The House of Representatives passed legislation July 7 blocking a recently announced Boeing sale of hundreds of aircraft to Iran.
The sale was heavily supported by the Obama administration, and if executed would have been the largest commercial relationship between the U.S. and Iran since 1979.
The legislation passed by voice vote, which Rep. Peter Roskam said in a statement indicated “overwhelming, bipartisan support.” House Democrats did not mount any significant opposition to the bill, despite the Obama administration’s opposition to the legislation.
Roskam told The Daily Caller News Foundation in April he was introducing legislation to prevent the Department of Defense awarding contracts to companies that do business with Iran. Boeing has multi-billion dollar contracts with the Department of Defense. “This is common sense. If a company subsidizes terrorism, it should not be eligible to receive taxpayer dollars in the form of DOD contracts,” Roskam said.
“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 wrote in a public letter to Secretary of State John Kerry June 30. Sherman noted in a statement that Iran Air is tied to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is under sanction by the U.S. for supporting designated terrorist organizations.
Iranian airlines has one of the oldest fleets of aircraft in commercial aviation as a result of international sanctions since the revolution in 1979. The airline reportedly still operates Boeing aircraft purchased before the revolution by the shah of Iran’s government.
The Obama administration believes that by encouraging trade with Iran, it will open opportunities for bilateral talks and reduce the hostile relationship with the Islamic Republic. Department of State spokesman John Kirby confirmed this position to The Washington Free Beacon, saying, “We have seen a number of major companies make tangible plans to take advantage of the new commercial opportunities.”
In May, three Republican lawmakers from Boeing’s home state of Washington wrote to the company expressing severe dismay at the prospect of a commercial deal with Iran, and asked Boeing to consider “the profound moral implications of engaging a nation that has proven time and time again that it cannot be trusted.”
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