Three Congressmen to Boeingdo what we say is Right, not what the Laws state

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Boeing & Iran

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Dennis Muilenburg

The Boeing Company

100 North Riverside

Chicago, Illinois 60606

Dear Mr. Muilenberg:

We write to express our concern regarding the Boeing Company’s ongoing discussions with government-run entities in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is our strong belief Western companies should not sell, lease, or otherwise aid the Islamic Republic in the procurement of aircraft, parts, or related services. Such commercial transactions would effectively subsidize the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, significantly augmenting the regime’s ability to sow the seeds of death and destruction around the globe.

We urge Boeing – in the strongest possible terms – not to do business with Iran until it ends its support for terror. We have already conveyed this message to your international competitors in the aviation industry.

The recently-implemented Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) removes sanctions previously imposed on the Islamic Republic over its illegal nuclear program. As Iran remains among of the gravest threats to global stability and U.S. national security, the JCPOA left in place most sanctions and prohibitions related to the country’s human rights violations, ballistic missile program, and support for terrorism. A specific exception was made for commercial aircraft sales at the behest of Tehran. We are confident Boeing is in compliance with the law. This is not about doing what is legal – it is about doing what is right.

Iran’s ongoing pattern of pernicious behavior is well-documented. We have attached an addendum to this letter detailing some of the regime’s latest provocations. Recently, Iran violated numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions by launching ballistic missiles. It detained and humiliated ten American service-members in violation of international protocols, forcing a female sailor to don a hijab and later using videos and photographs for anti-American propaganda purposes. Iranian naval forces fired several rockets within 1,500 yards of a U.S. aircraft carrier.

The greatest beneficiaries of any potential aircraft sale to Iran would be the Islamic Republic’s despotic leaders. The regime holds a majority ownership stake in Iran Air, the country’s flag carrier, with whom Boeing is widely reported to have begun negotiations. Iran Air was sanctioned by the Treasury Department for using its planes to ferry troops, weapons, and cash on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). From the Treasury Department report:

Rockets or missiles have been transported via Iran Air passenger aircraft, and IRGC officers occasionally take control over Iran Air flights carrying special IRGC-related cargo. The IRGC is also known to disguise and manifest such shipments as medicine and generic spare parts, and IRGC officers have discouraged Iran Air pilots from inspecting potentially dangerous IRGC-related cargo being carried aboard a commercial Iran Air aircraft, including to Syria.

Iran Air was only recently delisted by Treasury in what was largely viewed as a concession related to the JCPOA. The airline is still owned and operated by a regime whose leaders have only grown bolder and brasher since the deal’s implementation. There is every reason to believe Iran Air will continue to provide logistical support for terrorism and illicit activity around the world. We urge you not to be complicit in the likely conversion of Boeing aircraft to IRGC warplanes.

Boeing is truly an American icon, the global leader in aerospace and aviation technology. Your company creates thousands of jobs in our state and reinforces Chicago’s standing as a leading hub for technology and innovation. As elected representatives from Illinois, we have always been proud to work with Boeing. But we also have a responsibility to do everything in our power to keep our communities safe. In this capacity we implore you not to sell such great airplanes to such bad actors. There will be long-term national security consequences of any decision to supply militarily-fungible products like aircraft to those who wish our nation harm.

The Islamic Republic is not simply an emerging market for Boeing. It is a radical Islamic regime dominated by zealots who seek nothing less than the destruction of the United States and the shared democratic principles of the Western world.

We will do everything in our power to prevent Iran from obtaining additional means to threaten our national security. 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. Thank you for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

PETER J. ROSKAM                     ROBERT DOLD                                RANDY HULTGREN
Member of Congress                   Member of Congress                        Member of Congress

 

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“Any deal between Boeing and Iran’s regime ‘would effectively subsidize the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism’ and would turn American airplanes into Iranian ‘warplanes,’ according to three members of the U.S. Congress in a strongly-worded letter sent to the aircraft giant Monday.”

 

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Under Article I Sections 1 and 8, the Congress holds the sole authority to enact legislation. The President, Article II, Section I, holds the power to execute those laws. If a Representative is of the opinion that the Administration has not followed the laws, his/her option is to either to seek review through the Courts or to write the law in order to reverse the outcome.

Representatives Peter Roskam, Bob Dold and Randy Hultgren (all R, IL) have written to the Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg urging that aircraft manufacturer NOT to sell civilian airliners to the Islamic Republic of Iran. They recognized that Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) removes sanctions previously imposed on the Islamic Republic. The writers further acknowledge:

“We are confident Boeing is in compliance with the law. This is not about doing what is legal – it is about doing what is right.

Rockets or missiles have been transported via Iran Air passenger aircraft, and IRGC officers occasionally take control over Iran Air flights carrying special IRGC-related cargo. The IRGC is also known to disguise and manifest such shipments as medicine and generic spare parts, and IRGC officers have discouraged Iran Air pilots from inspecting potentially dangerous IRGC-related cargo being carried aboard a commercial Iran Air aircraft, including to Syria.

We will do everything in our power to prevent Iran from obtaining additional means to threaten our national security. 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. Thank you for your consideration.”

The policies represented in the letter to Boeing reflect the strongly held views of these Members (and in all likelihood their constituents). However, those positions are not presently reflected in the United States Code or the Code of Federal Regulations. Disagreeing with those laws in effect, Representative Roskam, Dold and Hultgren decided that the expedient action was to write to Boeing with the intent of convincing (browbeating?) the Illinois company not to sell civil aircraft to Iran.

Members Roskam, Dold and Hultgren, as well as others, real complaint is with the President’s actions under the JCPOA, in particular, this determination:

“…specific licenses may be issued on a case-by-case basis to authorize U.S. persons and, where there is a nexus to U.S. jurisdiction, non-U.S. persons to

(1) export, re-export, sell, lease, or transfer to Iran commercial passenger aircraft for exclusively civil aviation end-use,

(2) export, re-export, sell, lease, or transfer to Iran spare parts and components for commercial passenger aircraft, and

(3) provide associated services, including warranty, maintenance, and repair services and safety-related inspections, for all the foregoing, provided that licensed items and services are used exclusively for commercial passenger aviation.”

The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of the Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals against targeted foreign countries. The JCPOA appears to have met the necessary statutory basis.

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As noted in their letter, the appropriate response to the Members disagreement with OFAC would be to revise the relevant statutes as an “exploration of alternative legislation.

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The second argument of the Roskam/Dold/Hultgren letter is that a civil airliner constitutes a “warplane.” What qualifies as an arm is a matter under the jurisdiction of the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls under the Export Control Act (22 U.S. Code § 2778). That statute and the underlying regulations do not equate a civilian passenger airplane with military equipment.

If the Members want to halt the sales of all airliners to the Islamic Republic of Iran, then draft language, introduce a bill and see that their legislation is enacted. Member Roskam unsuccessfully attempted to prevent Airbus from selling their planes to Iran. In response to Airbus’ insisting on its right to sell, the Ways and Means Committee Chairman introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which would prohibit the DoD from awarding contracts to any entity that does business with the Iranian regime.

He and his fellow Illinois Members understand the right process. They should do the right thing.

 

ARTICLE: U.S. Congressmen: Boeing deal with Iran regime would turn airplanes into ‘warplanes’

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