You knew there’d be cronyism.
A senior Democrat is lashing out at a provision of the nuclear deal with Iran that could make it easier for the country to repair its aging fleet of civilian aircraft.
A little-noticed provision of the deal paves the way for U.S. companies such as Boeing and General Electric (Major Obama Donors, remember Jeffrey Imhelt of GE :)) to inspect and repair Iran’s American-made planes inside Iran. But Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs panel and a hawk on Iran, says the planes could be used to promote terrorism and support Syria’s Bashar Assad.
“America should exploit some of the vagaries in the agreement’s language and prevent Boeing from repairing Iranian aircraft until we have a final deal,” Sherman said in a statement Tuesday. “Otherwise we will have made a permanent irreversible concession in a ‘temporary’ agreement.”
He said he opposes “licensing parts and services needed to repair Iran’s American-made planes because they have been used to support some of Iran’s worst activities.”
The deal reached over the weekend in Geneva calls on the United States and its negotiating partners to “license safety related inspections and repairs” as well as the “supply and installation … of spare parts for safety of flight for Iranian civil aviation and associated services” inside Iran. The deal stipulates that sanctions relief “could” apply to the national carrier, Iran Air, which has been singled out for carrying military equipment, and to other airlines that haven’t been designated.
The Treasury Department says the details of the aircraft provision need to be finalized by the negotiators – the U.S., China, Russia, France, Great Britain and Germany – and possibly by federal regulators. Current U.S. sanctions allow Iran to apply for special licenses to fix failing aircraft but this would be the first time the repairs could take place inside Iran.
Iran blames the sanctions for a surge in crashes that have killed many passengers and aircrew in recent years. Sherman however is worried that the deal will allow Iran to try to refurbish its entire fleet – it can’t afford to buy a new one – instead of seeking piecemeal repairs, as it has in the past.
He pointed out that the Obama administration itself has singled out Iran Air for providing support to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and identified it as a key part of the military procurement network for Assad’s forces in Syria, as well as a conduit of aid to Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanese terrorist ally. A 2011 UN report has also accused Iran of using the airline to transport missile parts and other illegal trade between Iran and North Korea, and Iranian agents allegedly used an Iran Air flight to escape Geneva after murdering a dissident there in the early 1990s.
“Iran should ground its unsafe planes until they are properly repaired, which requires American parts and service,” Sherman said. “American corporations should not repair these until a final deal is reached.” (Julian Pacquet)
Hotair: When you dig into the details of this arrangement, there’s a lot of frosting and not much cake. First of all, this is not a permanent agreement in any way shape or form. It’s a six month “arrangement” which Iran could simply walk away from at the end (or at any point, really) after receiving a massive fiscal injection in the form of sanction relief. It is also simply a “suspension” of certain enrichment activities, with no dismantling of any of Iran’s facilities. The entire show can be started back up at any time. There’s additional transparency, with more inspectors allowed into additional facilities, which is good, but much like the suspension of enrichment this can be terminated any moment Iran decides not to honor the deal. (As they have done numerous times in the past.) The deal also allegedly limits the level of uranium enrichment the Iranians can reach, but that’s the same bone we’ve been chewing on for years. And finally, we have the Iranians on every cable channel doing an end zone dance saying this is “formal recognition” of their right to enrich uranium, while Kerry and his team are saying the opposite. It’s hard to imagine how solid any “deal” can be when the two sides are announcing essentially 180 degree opposite conclusions on basic terminology.
So it’s like Iran Air, a flying disaster waiting to happen.
Sounds like an Obama foreign policy decision…