U.S. House passes bill tightening controls on Iran plane sales

December 15, 2017

TEHRAN - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would require Treasury Department to report to Congress on Iranian purchases of U.S. aircraft and how those sales are financed.

The bill passed 252-167 — all but four Republicans supported it, and they were joined by 23 Democrats, Washington Examiner reported.

U.S. aviation giant Boeing is the primary target of the bill. In December 2016, Boeing sealed deals with Iran Air over sales of 80 jets worth $16.6 billion.

The bill led to heated debate about whether it would break U.S. commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

House Republicans argued that the bill would not bar any aircraft sales to Iran.

“Every six months, Treasury would need to certify to us that financed authorizations would not benefit an Iranian person that is transporting items for the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction or providing transportation for sanctioned entities,” Rep. Roger Williams, the Texas Republican who offered the legislation, said during a Wednesday evening debate on the House floor.

Democrats, on the other hand, maintained that the legislation might provoke Iran to abandon the nuclear deal.

“[This bill] would impose a new condition,” Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., said on the House floor. “A new condition which would require certification by [the executive branch] and all of the process which would ensue. It is not a stretch, in fact it is fairly clear, that if [this bill] were to pass, the Iranians and others could credibly claim that we have violated our obligations under the JCPOA.”

The JCPOA, which was signed between Iran and six world powers - the U.S., UK, France, Russia, China and Germany - puts some restrictions on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for termination of nuclear deal. 

But Iran says since the nuclear pact went into force in January 2016, it has not been able to fully benefit from the deal’s promises and that developing banking ties with big international banks has been a challenge due to Washington’s lack of commitment to the deal.

The U.S., too, has occasionally accused Iran of not fully implementing the agreement.

This is while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – which reports Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA – has for multiple times certified Tehran’s compliance with the accord.

MH/PA

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