“Boeing” and “Terrorism” Should Not Appear in the Same Sentence
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representative Peter J. Roskam is warning American and European companies not to sell airplanes and other products to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Today, he took to the House floor to continue sounding the alarm bells over The Boeing Company’s ongoing negotiations with government-run airlines in Iran.
Last week, he joined fellow Illinois Reps. Robert Dold and Randy Hultgren in sending a letter to Boeing’s CEO urging the company not to empower the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and appeared on Fox Business’s Varney & Co.
This follows Rep. Roskam’s Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal urging Western companies not to do business in Iran. “If you wouldn’t do business with Islamic State, you shouldn’t do business with the Islamic Republic,” he wrote.
What they’re saying:
Roskam, the Ways and Means Oversight chairman, has been particularly vocal in his opposition to American companies conducting business with Iran. Seeking to pressure Airbus into scuttling a $25 billion deal to sell 118 planes to Iran, Roskam spoke with leading European media outlets last week to express why he believed the decision was unwise.
Roskam on Friday introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which would prohibit the Department of Defense from awarding contracts to any entity that does business with Iran. Roskam is also the author of a March 31 opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, writing that businesses “should not be tempted” to deal with “a dangerous geopolitical foe.”
The congressmen told [CEO Dennis] Muilenburg they are confident Boeing's discussions with Iran comply with the law and called the company an "American icon" that creates thousands of jobs of Illinois. But, they wrote, "this is not doing what is legal — it is about doing what is right."
They said Iran's "despotic leaders" would be the greatest beneficiaries of any aircraft sale because they own a majority stake in Iran Air, the country's flag carrier.
Ambassador John Bolton on Fox News:
“[Commercial airplanes] could be used for troop transports, they could be used as bombers, a lot of airframes that are designed for commercial use also have military applications. Manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus design them with that in mind.
“And I think the Congressman has raised a fundamental point about the nature of Iran and the remaining American sanctions. Remember, most sanctions were put in place against Iran not only for the nuclear program but because Iran has been the central banker of international terrorism. They still are. This regime has not changed.
“And I think Boeing and a lot of major American companies need to worry about what their shareholders will think if they get into these deals and there’s a new administration or new legislation from Congress that suddenly takes them out of the picture.”
A group of Illinois congressmen wrote a letter Monday to Boeing’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg addressing the aircraft manufacturing company’s ongoing conversations with Iran about the sale of airplanes.
Rep. Bob Dold, Rep. Peter Roskam and Rep. Randy Hultgren wrote that they fear that a relationship between Boeing and Iran could lead to the country turning American planes into Iranian “warplanes.” The company’s international headquarters are located in Chicago.
It's unusual for lawmakers to pressure an American company that has such strong ties to their home state, but Roskam has already warned companies that engaging with the Iranian market will make them "accomplices" to terrorism. The Boeing letter contains another hint that GOP lawmakers might try to pass legislation impeding such deals.
"We will do everything in our power to prevent Iran from obtaining additional means to threaten our national security," they wrote. "We are actively exploring legislative and other means to make sure Western companies understand the risks and repercussions of placing profits over the safety and well-being of the American people."
Press TV (Iranian Regime-owned propaganda outlet):
The Republican lawmakers reiterated US allegations of Iranian support for terror, telling Boeing that Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) can turn the planes into combat aircraft.
“We urge you not to be complicit in the likely conversion of Boeing aircraft to IRGC warplanes,” said the lawmakers.
The IRGC’s influence in the Iranian economy is nothing short of dominant. Industries ranging from finance to telecommunications have ties to the IRGC, many are led by IRGC veterans. Dominance of the economy allows the IRGC leadership to finance nefarious operations across the Middle East, including the support of terrorist organizations like the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Boeing said in April that it began preliminary discussions in Tehran with Iranian airlines about potentially selling its planes and aircraft services, according to The Wall Street Journal.
But the lawmakers warned that Iran Air has used its planes to supply weapons, troops and cash on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and urged Boeing “not to be complicit in the likely conversion of Boeing aircraft to IRGC warplanes.”
However, even though the U.S. is allowing talks, further authorization will be needed before Iran can take possession of the planes. The country's national airline, Iran Air, is mainly owned by the Islamic Republic's government.
In their letter, the three congressmen point out that there are several links between the Iranian regime and financing of terror activities, and they say that Iran has used passenger air flights to supply deadly weapons to terrorist organizations.
The American firm offered Iranian airlines three models of new aircraft to replace their aging fleet last month after President Obama reached a nuclear weapons deal with the Middle Eastern country. Under the new diplomatic treaty, the US and Iran can exchange commercial aircraft. But a coalition of Republican lawmakers have come together to urge CEO Dennis Muilenburg not to go through with the plans.
People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (Iranian dissident group)
The Iran Project (Pro-Regime)
National Council of Resistance of Iran (Iranian dissident group)
HispanTV (Regime-owned propaganda outlet)