The Corner

National Security & Defense

Obama Treasury Greenlight$ Boeing, Airbus Plane Sales to Iran

This time a year ago, we were scratching our heads wondering why congressional Republicans, who claimed to be staunch opponents of President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, had effectively approved the deal by enacting legislation sponsored by Senator Bob Corker Bill (R., Tenn.). The  Corker bill authorized Obama to lift nuclear sanctions against the jihadist regime unless Republicans passed a resolution of disapproval that survived Obama’s certain veto. As GOP leaders well knew, there was no way they would ever be round up the required two-thirds supermajority for that. Of course, thanks to the rigged Corker process, they were to rail against the deal while letting it happen. 

Why? At the time, I suggested that we “follow the money.” Perhaps the reason Republicans shrank from using every means at their disposal to thwart the deal was that not all Republican backers objected to it: 

The deal’s enthusiasts may be a tiny minority of GOP supporters, but they represent big bucks. Often in Washington, the numbers that matter are measured in dollars, not votes.

Take Boeing, for example. Based in Chicago, Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company, with revenues expected to surge past $96 billion this year. It is a major GOP donor. It gives mountains of money to Democrats, too, but the lion’s share of its political contributions go to Republicans. For the 2014 campaign cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org, the company gave about 60 percent of its whopping $3,250,000 in donations to the GOP…. And that’s apart from the nearly $17 million the company spent in 2014 on lobbyists, 80 percent of whom have transitioned to the other end of the trough after careers in government.

It just so happens that Boeing stands to reap huge money from Obama’s lifting of the sanctions. Iran’s airline industry has been crippled by these severe restrictions, which are aimed against commerce connected to the regime’s illegal uranium enrichment, terror promotion, and weapons trafficking. Once the sanctions are lifted, the mullahs are expected to order up at least 100 new aircraft in just the next year, and 400 over the next decade. That means tens of billions of dollars in sales for manufacturers positioned to satisfy those pressing needs.

No company is better positioned than Boeing. It not only has the models Iran wants and the production capacity to fill huge orders. Boeing also ingratiated itself with the mullahs last year by leaping into action when President Obama, eager to keep Iran at the negotiating table, granted some limited sanctions relief. Reuters reported that the company “sold aircraft manuals, drawings, charts and data to Iran Air.” Interesting thing about that: Iran Air, the national carrier, is most notorious for providing material support to the barbaric Assad regime in Syria and the Hezbollah terrorist network that props it up.

Gee, whaddya know! The Obama Treasury Department has just licensed Boeing and Airbus to sell planes to Iran. The Tower reports:

The United States Treasury Department has approved licenses for Boeing and Airbus to export planes to Iran, even as the Islamic Republic continues to fly troops and arms to Syria, Reuters reported Wednesday.

The granting of the licenses, according to Reuters, marks the elimination of a “key hurdle” allowing Iran Air, the national carrier, to purchase or lease 200 planes, allowing Tehran to “help modernize and expand the country’s elderly fleet, held together by smuggled or improvised parts after years of sanctions.” The payment process could still be difficult, as Iran is largely blocked from the international financial system due to ongoing concerns about its money laundering and terror financing. 

Well, it’s not that blocked from the international financial system with Obama transferring to Tehran tens of billions of dollars — both in planeloads of cash and wire transfers the president falsely claimed he was unable to make (supposedly necessitating the mountains of cash). And what might the mullahs do with the new planes? The Tower report continues:

Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in The Hill last week that Iran Air’s additional planes would likely be used to continue ferrying troops and arms to Syria in support of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

 

In one instance earlier this month, an Iran Air flight from Tehran to Damascus initially flew west instead of south in order to make a mysterious layover in the city of Abadan. Ottolenghi described Abadan as the “principal logistics hub for the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] airlift in support of Syria’s loyalist armed forces and the Shiite militias.”

“Flight records show that Iran Air’s flight 697 — the Tehran-Damascus route — was operated 66 times over the last year, including three times from Abadan, on Sept. 8, June 9 and May 10. There were at least an additional 20 Iran Air flights to Damascus between Dec. 14, 2015, and the end of August 2016. Not all originated in Tehran, however,” Ottolenghi added.

“Many of these flights switched off their transponders above the western Iraqi desert, and in some cases, for part of their journey in Iranian airspace. Moreover, in the abovementioned cases, the flight number’s associated route did not match the actual plane’s journey. These practices are illegal under international civil aviation rules, and also reveal the intention to conceal the aircraft itinerary and likely its cargo,” he wrote. 

Here’s how I concluded last September’s “follow the money” column:

To sum up: Obama cuts a deal with Iran. The implementation of the deal is abetted by legislation pushed by the Republican-controlled Congress despite massive opposition from the GOP base. Under the deal, a major GOP donor stands to make billions selling aircraft to Iran. Iran will use the aircraft to fortify the Assad regime (which Obama and GOP leadership claim to want to topple) and to promote terrorism by networks with a history of murdering Americans.

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