House votes to bar commercial aircraft sales to Iran

The House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that would prohibit the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran.

Two of the largest aviation companies in the world, Boeing and Airbus, already had been granted permission to negotiate deals with Iran by the Obama administration, which unlocked a decades long business freeze between the two countries.

“The sweeping and vague nature of this provision would have a chilling effect on U.S. and non-U.S. entities seeking to engage in permissible business with Iran,” the White House said.

The bill was passed by a vote of 243–174, with eight Democrats voting along side the Republican majority. The vote was largely symbolic since it would face tough opposition in the Senate, and President Obama promised to veto the bill if it made it to his desk. House Republicans object to aircraft business deals with Iran because they believe the country might use commercial planes in a military capacity, especially in the ongoing Syrian conflict, according to Reuters.

“We need to make sure that the American financial system is not complicit in this deal,” Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said. “We need to make sure that American taxpayers are not subsidizing this deal.”

Boeing and Iran have a tentative $17.6 billion dollar deal that would give 80 planes to the Islamic Republic, specifically Iran Air. If approved by the U.S. government, the agreement would create thousands of new jobs.

Democrats pointed to this fact as one of their reasons for supporting the deal. They also framed the vote as political playacting by Republicans still upset by the nuclear agreement.

 

[AP] [Reuters] [Bloomberg] [Wall Street Journal] [Image courtesy Hasan Sarbakhshian/Associated Press via Skift]