WASHINGTON, July 6, 2016 -- A House subcommittee on Thursday will debate legislation designed to halt the Boeing Company’s multi-billion dollar deal to sell and lease airplanes to Iran.
The deal, if completed, would constitute the biggest American business transaction with Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
The Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), will review three bills:
- Legislation that would prohibit the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) from licensing the sale and lease of aircraft that Boeing announced with Iran in June. While Boeing received a general OFAC license earlier this year to begin negotiations with Iran, its contracts with Iran are contingent on OFAC’s authorization.
- Legislation that would prohibit the Treasury Secretary from authorizing certain transactions by a U.S. financial institution in connection with the export or re-export of a commercial passenger aircraft to Iran.
- Legislation that would prohibit Export-Import Bank financing involving any entity that does business with Iran or which provides financing to another entity for the purpose of facilitating a transaction with Iran.
"Tomorrow's hearing will examine the Obama Administration's nuclear agreement with Iran and how it opened the door for the sale of American made aircraft to the world's leading state sponsor of terror. The Subcommittee will also discuss legislation to prevent the facilitation of certain transactions by American financial institutions with Iran as well as the prohibition of the export-import bank from financing projects in Iran. I am extremely concerned that by relaxing the rules, the Obama Administration has allowed U.S. companies to be complicit in weaponizing the Iranian regime," said Chairman Huizenga.
The U.S. State Department has consistently labeled Iran a state sponsor of terrorism and in a report issued last month called Iran “the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism.” In 2011, Iran’s state-owned national air carrier – the same carrier at the center of the Boeing deal – was sanctioned by the U.S. for transporting fighters and weapons of war on behalf of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In a letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg on June 16, Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) called Iran “terrorism’s central supplier” and said “American companies should not be complicit in weaponizing the Iranian Regime.”
Witnesses scheduled to appear at Thursday’s hearing plan to voice similar concerns, according to their submitted testimony.
“Boeing is signing a deal with an Iranian aviation company and an industry complicit in the regime’s weapons proliferation and destabilizing adventurism. Boeing and those banking this deal face a due diligence nightmare. They cannot prevent their planes from being used by Iran‘s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, for example, for deadly airlifts to Syria‘s Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese Hezbollah,” according to testimony submitted by Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“[T]he sale of such aircraft to Iran, and in particular to Iran Air, raises serious concerns that such planes will be used to traffic illicit arms and militants to Syria in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to Hezbollah in Lebanon, and to militants in Yemen. This fear is warranted: as recent research has shown, Iran Air—as well as still-designated entities like Mahan Air—regularly flies commercial aircraft to Syria and Lebanon that are known to—or suspected of—transporting arms, cash from illicit activities, or foreign militants,” said Eric B. Lorber of the Financial Integrity Network in testimony submitted to the Committee.
Source: U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee