U.S. House Votes to Prevent Sales of Aircraft to Iran
The United States House of Representatives passed legislation last week on Thursday that would block the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran.
The bill represents an effort to stop sales of Boeing and Airbus airplanes to the Islamic Republic that have already been approved by the Obama administration.
Airbus and Boeing want to sell or lease over 200 jets to IranAir to modernize and expand its fleet, which has grown old during the years in which sanctions prevented these kinds of transactions. The conclusion of the nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and six world powers, including the U.S., was to have the effect of relaxing many, but not all, of the sanctions imposed against Iran.
The bill passed the House 243 to 174. Eight Democrats joined Republicans in favor of the measure. All the no votes belonged to Democrats.
The legislation would prohibit the U.S. Treasury Department from issuing licenses that U.S. banks would need to finance the sales. The bill is the latest effort by congressional Republicans to undo the nuclear deal.
Opponents of the measure argued the bill would cost American jobs, but concerns that the passenger aircraft could be used for military purposes, such as transporting militarty personnel to battle U.S. troops or allies in Syria—won out.
Airbus, although based in France, is also subject to U.S. Treasury Department approval for the sale over 10 percent of its aircraft components are made in the USA.
The bill is unlikely to become law in 2016. It it faces stiff opposition from Democrats in the Senate, and the White House said that President Obama would veto the measure if the bill ended up on his desk.
All that may change, however, once President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.
“The bill may signal hope on the part of Republicans that the incoming Trump administration will re-implement many of the Iran sanctions that have been lifted,” said Lawrence Ward is a partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney. “Given different statements about Iran by President-elect Trump, it is difficult to know precisely how the U.S. sanctions program as to Iran may change in the new year.”