US House of Representatives passes bill to block commercial aircraft sales to Iran

November 17, 2016 10:30 pm

The Capitol, which houses the chambers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, in Washington, DC.

The US House of Representatives has voted to bar the sale of commercial Boeing and Airbus airplanes to Iran.
On Thursday, the Republican-controlled House voted 243-174 to pass the legislation to prohibit the Treasury Department from issuing the licenses US banks would need to complete the transactions.
The measure would also revoke previously enacted authorities enabling aircraft sales to the Islamic Republic. The bill must now clear the Senate.
The move comes about two months after the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control granted Airbus and Boeing permission to sell airplanes to Iran in a multibillion-dollar deal.
The transaction was approved after anti-Iran sanctions were lifted as part of a nuclear agreement reached earlier this year between Iran and six world powers.

The file photo shows an Iran Air Boeing 747-200.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — , Britain, Russia, China, France as well as Germany –started implementation of the deal, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), on January 16.
Under the JCPOA, all sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the UN Security Council and the US have to be lifted as Iran limits some aspects of its peaceful nuclear program.
The White House announced on Monday that President Barack Obama will veto the bill seeking to block the export of passenger aircraft to Iran, saying it would undermine an international nuclear deal implemented early this year.

US President Barack Obama arrives to address a conference in the White House press briefing room in Washington, DC, November 14, 2016. (Photo by Reuters)

The White House said American allies would view the legislation as a violation of the nuclear agreement.
It seems the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the US has allowed Republicans to take a more aggressive stance against Iran.
Trump said during his election campaign that he would “dismantle”, “tear up” or try to renegotiate the terms of the nuclear deal if elected president.
Iranian officials have warned the US against walking away from the nuclear agreement, stressing that any US president is bound to honor the deal as it has been endorsed by a United Nations Security Council resolution, which makes it effectively an international law.
On Wednesday, US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the legislative body was set to renew the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) before the year ends.

US President-elect Donald Trump speaks to the press with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) following a meeting at the Capitol in Washington, DC, on November 10, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

On Tuesday, the House voted almost unanimously to extend the ISA for 10 more years.
“We’re going to take up the House bill. I think it’s already held at the desk and we are going to pass it,” McConnell told reporters at the Senate’s weekly GOP leadership media conference.
The House voted 419 to 1 to reauthorize the bill, which was first introduced in 1996 on the unfounded accusation that Tehran was pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program, an accusation that the Islamic Republic has rejected.
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