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Should companies sell and finance planes to Iran?

Top FDD recources

Increasing the Effectiveness of Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran
Emanuele Ottolenghi - House Financial Services Monetary Policy and Trade, and Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittees
April 04, 2017 

  • "Iran has devoted its commercial aviation sector to keeping Assad in power and Hezbollah armed to the teeth. The JCPOA, meanwhile, has made it legal to sell new aircraft to carriers that are complicit.”
  • “A firewall cannot be established between Iran’s commercial air traffic and its military airlifts to Syria. This is because Iran is using its civil aviation sector to fulfill its military needs.”
  • “Given the industry’s involvement in the Syria airlifts, it is in the U.S.’s interest to impose sanctions on Iran’s aviation sector to prevent Iran from exploiting global commerce to aid its illicit activities.”

Read Emanuele’s full testimony here.

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The Implications of U.S. Aircraft Sales to Iran
Mark Dubowitz - House Financial Services Committee
July 07, 2016

  • “Boeing and those banking this deal face a due diligence nightmare. They cannot prevent their planes from being used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, for example, for deadly airlifts to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Lebanese Heabollah.”
  • “The Boeing deal also undermines the Obama administrations much-touted economic snapback mechanism for enforcing the JCPOA…From Iran’s perspective, this is a smart strategy: Snapping back sanctions would cause American and European aviation companies and banks to lose billions of dollars in unpaid contracts.”
  • If the United States provides dollarized access now, and in the future Iran conducts another ballistic missile test or executes more dissidents or provides more weapons to the Assad regime in Syria, the next administration will not be able to revoke Iran’s access to dollarized transactions…This will effectively paralyze America’s Iran policy as even the minimalist instrument of coercion, the non-nuclear sanction, will be increasingly neutralized.”

Read Mark’s full testimony here.

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CEO of Iranian Airline to Buy Boeing Jets Has Ties to IRGC
Emanuele OttolenghiSaeed Ghasseminejad - Policy Brief
April 11, 2017

  • “The deal [between Boeing and Aseman Airlines] appears to be permitted under the 2015 nuclear agreement, which lifted U.S. sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s aviation sector…There is, however, a problem: Aseman’s CEO, Hossein Alaei, is a decades-long senior member of the IRGC, which remains under US sanctions.”
  • “Like his ideological peers, Alaei openly voiced his desire to confront America.”
  • “Alaei’s past affiliation with the IRGC is not proof that Aseman has any current association with the organization. But it does raise questions about whether that might be so. The U.S. should not sell any aircraft to Aseman until it can definitively rule that out.”

Read the full policy brief

 

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Testimony

Assessing the Iran Deal
Mark Dubowitz - House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, National Security Subcommittee
"Sales of new aircraft to Iran should only move forward once Iran has demonstrated that it will no longer use civilian aircraft for malign purposes and that none of the aircraft will end up in the hands of sanctioned entities."...Read more (04/05/2017)

Increasing the Effectiveness of Non-Nuclear Sanctions Against Iran
Emanuele Ottolenghi - House Financial Services Monetary Policy and Trade, and Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittees
"The administration should suspend licensing for aircraft deals with Iranian commercial carriers while it conducts a thorough review of their role in the airlifts to Syria."..Read more (04/04/2017)

 

The Iran Nuclear Agreement: One Year Later
Mark Dubowitz - Senate Foreign Relations Committee
"Congress should prohibit Treasury from licensing U.S. or foreign financial institutions to facilitate any trade (including the Boeing deal) with Iran while it remains a state sponsor of terrorism."...Read more (7/14/2016)

The Implications of U.S. Aircraft Sales to Iran
Mark Dubowitz - House Financial Services Committee
"It is entirely within the purview of the U.S. government, both Congress and the executive branch, to put in a certification that the president has to make that Iran is not using these civilian aircraft for illicit military purposes."...Read more (7/07/2016)

Reports and Memos

Should Boeing and Airbus Sell Planes to Iran Air?
Emanuele Ottolenghi - FDD Memo
With the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in January 2016, most international sanctions against Iran have been lifted. These include long-standing U.S. sanctions against Iran’s aviation sector...Read more (1/13/2017)

Flying Above the Radar: Sanctions Evasion in the Iranian Aviation Sector
Emanuele Ottolenghi, Annie Fixler and Yaya Fanusie - FDD Research
With the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in January 2016, most international sanctions against Iran have been lifted. These include long-standing U.S. sanctions against Iran’s aviation sector...Read more (7/18/2016)

Policy Briefs

CEO of Iranian Airline to Buy Boeing Jets Has Ties to IRGC
Emanuele Ottolenghi, Saeed Ghasseminejad - Policy Brief
Boeing announced last week it would sell 30 B737 Max aircraft to Aseman Airlines – a government-owned carrier that is Iran’s third-largest – in a deal valued at around $3 billion...Read more (04/11/2017)

The Iran-Boeing Deal: Rewards and Risks
Emanuele Ottolenghi - Policy Brief
Iran’s minister of transport, Abbas Akhoundi, announced an aircraft deal this week with U.S. aviation industry giant, Boeing...Read more (04/11/2017)

Broadcasts

Opinion Journal
Mark Dubowitz - WSJ Video
FDD Executive Director Mark Dubowitz discusses the Boeing-Iran deal...Watch here (07/13/16)

Commentary 

Trump's Syria strategy must target Assad's chief protector: Iran
Emanuele Ottolenghi - The Hill
The strikes ordered on April 6 by President Trump to respond to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons attack helped restore America’s credibility in the region after years of retreat...Read more (04/17/17)

One Way to Push Back in Syria? Target Iranian Airlines
Emanuele Ottolenghi - The Hill
Iran's commercial fleet is helping the Bashar Assad regime and its allies commit vast-scale atrocities in Syria. The Obama administration should have punished Tehran's war crimes by going after Iran's aviation sector, without which Iran could not deliver weapons and fighters to Aleppo's killing fields...Read more (12/16/16)

Iran Air Participates in Syrian Airlift, but Obama Does Nothing
Emanuele Ottolenghi - The Hill
Last week, the Obama administration admitted, during a congressional hearing, that it had authorized cash payments to Iran, timed with the release of U.S. hostages, in January. Cash wasreportedly loaded onto an unmarked Iranian cargo plane before it was flown back to Tehran...Read more (09/16/2016)

Boeing Should Think Twice Before Iran Sale 
Emanuele Ottolenghi - Forbes
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached last year between Iran and six world powers lifted sanctions against Iran’s aviation sector, allowing aircraft manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran...Read more (08/23/2016)

The Boeing Sale to Iran Runs Into Turbulence
Emanuele Ottolenghi, Mark Dubowitz - The Wall Street Journal
No wonder the House moved last week to try to block Boeing’s tentative agreement to sell 80 passenger jets to Iran’s government-owned airline, Iran Air...Read more (07/12/2016)

The risks of the Iran-Boeing deal
Emanuele Ottolenghi - The Hill
Boeing's potential deal to sell aircraft to Iran may have benefits for the company's ledger and for the U.S. banks that will finance it...Read more (09/16/2016)

In The News

Trump isn't sure what to do next on Syria. Congress has some ideas
Mark Dubowitz - Quoted by Josh Rogin - The Washington Post
The Trump administration is working hard to come up with a comprehensive strategy for Syria after striking the forces of Bashar al-Assad earlier this month. To that end, congressional leaders are preparing a new push to get their old ideas for pressuring the Syrian president, Russia and Iran to the president’s desk....Read more (04/16/2017)

Airbus Will Sell 100 Planes to Iran After Similar Boeing Deal 
Mark Dubowitz - Quoted by Rick Gladstone - The New York Times
The European aircraft manufacturer Airbus completed a deal on Thursday to sell 100 jetliners to Iran, a move described by both sides as a major step toward revitalizing Iran’s aged commercial fleet after years of sanctions and economic isolation...Read more (12/22/2016)

As Boeing-Iran Deal Faces Increasing Pressure, Tehran Lashes Out
Mark Dubowitz, Eric B. Lorber - Quoted by Jenna Lifhits - The Weekly Standard
Iranian officials are threatening to take action in the event that a controversial jet deal between Boeing and Iran Air collapses...Read more (12/20/2016)

The Mullahs' Syrian Airlift Gets a Boost 
Emanuele Ottolenghi - Quoted by Sohrab Ahmari - The Wall Street Journal
Iran’s flagship carrier, Iran Air, agreed Sunday to purchase 80 passenger jets from Boeing Co. The $16.6 billion sale exemplifies the ethical and strategic hazards of President Obama’s signature foreign-policy legacy—the Iranian nuclear deal...Read more (12/15/2016)