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In July, the US. House of Representatives sent a clear message to Iran that they would not be getting any Boeing aircraft deal regardless of what sanctions were lifted. The message that the House conveyed was that Iran would use these commercial jetliners for nefarious reasons, such as flying weapons to Syria in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad. According to a report by American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Iran has an airbridge to Syria and when Iran gets their hands on the Boeing/Airbus jetliners, that air traffic will increase exponentially.
In 2011 and 2012, the US Treasury Department applied pressure to this lifeline by sanctioning IranAir, Mahan Air, and the cargo airline Yas Air for transporting military equipment to Syria on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). However, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) committed the US to remove sanctions on IranAir, notwithstanding that US Treasury designations implicated the airline in flying cargo to Syria in support of the IRGC and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
This concern was duly noted by and addressed by some prominent members of Congress, one in particular, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.). Congressman Sherman wrote a letter to the Obama administration in June saying it is “virtually certain” the aircraft would be used for nefarious purposes, since IranAir is aligned with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which remains under sanction. IranAir was removed from a sanctions list as part of the nuclear deal with Iran, which rolled back sanctions in exchange for limits to Iran’s nuclear program.
“IranAir’s aircraft will undoubtedly be used in the future to continue to funnel lethal assistance to Assad, to Hezbollah, and to other terrorist entities.”
Congressman Sherman’s concerns fell on deaf ears as the US just recently approved the sale of Boeing/Airbus jetliners to Iran with a license issued by the Treasury Department; the very Treasury Department who sanctioned IranAir in 2011/2012 for transporting military equipment into Syria on behalf of the IRGC. Iran will no doubt up their flights in and out of Syria at the behest of the Supreme Leader and his IRGC (remember, the IRGC has their Quds forces firmly entrenched in Syria as well as Iraq).
Enter Iran’s favorite lap dog, Hezbollah – the Lebanon-based terrorist group who has threatened Israel with war on a near daily basis with one threat in particular issued by Hassan Nasrallah stating Hezbollah would hit ammonia tanks in Haifa, Israel killing thousands. Iran and Syria have been helping Hezbollah stockpile rockets to the tune of 100k+ since its 33 day war against Israel in 2006. Did I mention that IranAir already flies in and out of Beirut, Lebanon often?
Doing the math on this and it’s abundantly clear, Iran wants this Boeing/Airbus deal in order to resupply its forces in Syria at a much faster rate. Airbus is set to release 17 jetliners to Iran immediately and it’s still unclear as to how many Boeing will release immediately. It’s only a matter of time before Iranian military cargo on one of these jetliners plays a part in the deaths of US troops or her allies. This is nothing more than an apathetic Obama administration placating to a hardliner regime who clearly hates America and corporate greed on behalf of Boeing/Airbus – “profits over principle” position.
Theresa Giarratano is a retired US Army NCO studying Middle Eastern affairs with special emphasis on global terrorism. Her current status is assisting the Kurdish people by disseminating information regarding the fight against ISIS via social media platforms.