Some Democrats join Republicans in effort to block Iran deal with Boeing

Iran has warned that blocking the sale would be a violation of the nuclear accord.

Boeing company as seen in Los Angeles, California, US (photo credit: REUTERS)
Boeing company as seen in Los Angeles, California, US
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – Legislation that would block a sale of Boeing aircraft to Iran worth $25 billion passed the US House of Representatives in a voice vote on Thursday night.
Republican members added two amendments to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act that would prohibit US financial institutions from issuing the requisite licenses for the sale, or from offering loans to Iran for the purchases.
While this bill is unlikely to become law, the author of these two amendments, Congressman Peter Roskam (R-Illinois), said he plans to attach them to every bill he can that moves through Congress.
Significantly, Democratic members did not push back against the addition of the amendments, and some were encouraging of the effort on Thursday.
Among them is Congressman Brad Sherman (D-California), who in a letter to the Obama administration last month wrote that the deal should not proceed because of inextricable ties between the Islamic Republic’s state-run aviation industry and its Revolutionary Guards.
Iran contends that blocking the Boeing sale would violate terms of the nuclear deal clinched last year, and points to a provision that commits the US to “allow for the sale of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services” for “exclusively civil aviation end-use.”
But it is that last part – “exclusively civil aviation end-use” – that has some members of Congress convinced the Boeing deal can legally be halted, in compliance with the nuclear agreement.
That is because the US Treasury Department, State Department and intelligence agencies all assess that Iran Air and its subsidiary Mahan Air are complicit in illicit arms transfers to Lebanon- based terrorist organization Hezbollah or in the assistance of Syria’s embattled president, Bashar Assad.