Economy, Business And Markets

US House Votes Against Aircraft Sales to Iran

The measure is unlikely to become law during the current Congress, as it would need to pass the Senate where it would face stiff opposition from Democrats.The measure is unlikely to become law during the current Congress, as it would need to pass the Senate where it would face stiff opposition from Democrats.

The US House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday to block the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran in a bid to stop sales by Boeing and Airbus that have already been approved by President Barack Obama’s administration.

The bill passed the Republican-led House by 243-174 largely along party lines. Eight Democrats joined Republicans in favor. All 174 “no” votes were from Democrats, Reuters reported.

The measure would bar US Treasury Department from issuing licenses that US banks would need to finance sales of commercial aircraft, the latest in a series of efforts by congressional Republicans to counteract the international nuclear deal between Iran, the United States and other world powers.

The deals by Airbus and Boeing to sell or lease over 200 jets to Iran Air would help modernize and expand the country’s aging fleet, held together by smuggled or improvised parts after years of sanctions.

Although Airbus is based in France, it must have the US Treasury Department’s approval for the sale because at least 10% of the aircraft’s components are American-made.

Some members of Congress have raised concerns that killing the sale could cost jobs. But opponents, particularly Republicans who unanimously opposed the nuclear agreement, argue that the passenger aircraft could be used for military purposes such as transporting fighters to battle US troops or allies in Syria.

The measure is unlikely to become law during the current Congress. It would need to pass the Senate, where it would face stiff opposition from Democrats.

And the White House said Obama would veto the measure even if it did pass the Senate. The administration believes the legislation would be a violation of the nuclear pact, in which Iran agreed to limit the scope of its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

However, the climate for the nuclear pact could change once Republican president-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20.

  Two Conspicuous Absentees

The Thursday vote to ban the sales of Boeing and Airbus to Iran came, as the absence of the two giant planemakers in the eighth edition of the International Iran Air Show, which is being held in the southern resort island of Kish, gave rise to a flurry of speculations in Iranian media that the multibillion dollar deals might be at risk.

“Director general of Iran Air held talks on several occasions with the two companies (Boeing and Airbus) to work out their participation in the event, to no avail,” deputy secretary of the air show, Ali Mohammad Khanmohammadi, was quoted as saying by the Persian daily Shargh.

“The two planemakers need permits from US Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to have a booth in Iran [Air Show], but the permits were not issued,” he explained.

Secretary of Iranian Airlines Association Maqsoud As’adi Samani, however, brushed aside the speculations, saying “the reason why Boeing and Airbus did not directly attend the air show is that their contracts are not final. However, they sent their regional representatives.”

“This does not implicate anything special and cannot be translated into cancellation of the aviation deals,” the official added.

The Eighth International Iran Air Show, which opened on November 16 and concludes on Saturday, hosted domestic companies and international firms from European and Asian countries, including Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Poland and Ukraine.

The show has been organized to “represent a significant business opportunity for leading international companies that wish to invest in a multibillion dollar market,” according to a notice posted on Iran Air Show’s website (

The first edition of Iran Air Show was held in 2002.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints