Boeing-Iran deal in jeopardy as concerns persist about Tehran’s terror links

Mark Dubowitz, Chip Poncy
15th June 2016 - Quoted by Jessie Fox, Guy Taylor - The Washington Times

Two former U.S. Treasury officials cast doubt Wednesday on the prospects of a highly touted deal between Iran and the American aerospace giant Boeing, claiming concerns about Iranian money laundering and terrorism financing activities are likely to scuttle the agreement.

Boeing Co. officials remained mum Wednesday after Iranian officials said this week that a milestone deal was imminent, the biggest by far between a U.S. company and Tehran since the signing of the landmark nuclear deal last year that lifted many economic sanctions on Iran.

But critics say the deal, strongly backed by President Obama, has failed to reduce concerns that Iran remains a vital source of funds and banking services for the world’s leading terrorist groups.


“The risks associated with doing business with Iran haven’t changed,” said Chip Poncy, who headed Treasury’s office of strategic policy for terrorist financing and financial crimes through 2013.

Eric Lorber, a former attorney in Treasury’s office of foreign assets control, said the Boeing deal will likely face the same problem that has kept a similar deal between Tehran and Airbus, Boeing’s European rival, from getting off the ground for the past seven months.

The Airbus deal to sell more than 100 planes to the Iranians made headlines in January but “still hasn’t been finalized. And one of the reasons is that Airbus has had a terribly difficult time finding a private financial institution to bank the deal,” said Mr. Lorber, who appeared with Mr. Poncy on a conference call Wednesday arranged by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington think tank whose scholars were critical of the Iran deal.

“I think Boeing is going to have a similar challenge,” Mr. Lorber said.

Boeing has received approval from Treasury’s office of foreign assets control to begin discussions with IranAir but would still need a specific, final authorization to sell jets to Tehran.

It remains to be seen whether Treasury will grant such an authorization, said Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Mr. Dubowitz, who heads the think tank’s center on sanctions and illicit finance, said there is a fear that Iran may ultimately use Boeing’s support for terrorist activities and to back its allies such as Syrian President Bashar Assad.

“The concerns are that the American equipment is going to be used to ferry Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops to support the Assad regime in Syria,” said Mr. Dubowitz.

Boeing and other U.S. firms are “going to have to reassure regulators that any equipment is not ending up in the hands of the Revolutionary Guard,” he said.


Read the full article here


boeing, iran, sanctions, terror-finance