Friday, July 1, 2016

Lawmaker Slams 'Shameful' Boeing Deal with Iran

Boeing forsaking American values, trying "to make a quick buck."


Speaking to thousands of veterans Thursday, Republican congressman Peter Roskam of Illinois shamed Boeing for eagerly pursuing a multi-billion dollar deal with Iran that he said jeopardizes American security and forsakes American values.

"Iran is the central supplier for terrorism around the world. The regime has killed American soldiers in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and all around the world," Roskam said during defense contractor Northrop Grumman's America Day celebration. "It's shameful for Boeing to even consider doing business with the Iranians, let alone agree to sell airplanes to the same regime-owned companies running their terror supply routes throughout the Middle East."

Roskam drew a sharp contrast between Northrop Grumman and Boeing, which he described as the "first out of the gate to push [American] values aside in order to make a quick buck."

"You can either be a great American company like Northrop Grumman and consistently support our national security both in name and in deed, or you can weaponize the Islamic Republic of Iran, like Boeing," Roskam said. "You cannot do both."

Boeing's potential $17.6 billion dollar agreement with Iran Air is slated to be the largest American transaction with the Islamic Republic since sanctions were partially lifted in January. The Iran nuclear deal allows for the sale of aircraft to the Islamic Republic, except to those airlines known to support terrorism. But Roskam has for months argued against the exchange on moral and strategic, rather than legalistic grounds.

In a May letter, the Illinois congressman reminded Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg that the United States sanctioned Iran Air in 2011 for transporting troops, money, and weapons on its planes on behalf of Iran's hardline Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). "We urge you not to be complicit in the likely conversion of Boeing aircraft to IRGC warplanes," the letter stated, and underscored that the U.S. "only recently" removed sanctions on Iran Air as a nuclear deal concession.

Last week, Roskam also introduced legislation related to the Boeing agreement that aims to "preventIran from accessing U.S. dollars in any manner," after concern that the Obama administration wouldrenege on its promise not to give the Islamic Republic access.

The deal faces further opposition on the other side of the aisle. Congressman Brad Sherman of California, a high-ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, echoed Roskam's concerns that Boeing planes would be used to support terrorism in a letter to senior Obama administration officials Wednesday.

"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," Sherman wrote in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. "Iran Air could also serve as a procurement front … for Iran's military or the IRGC's armed forces."

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