Pro-Israeli sides warn Boeing on Iran deal
A groundswell of opposition is building among pro-Israeli politicians in the US against Boeing’s plans to sell aircraft to Iran.
The Chicago-based aerospace giant has reportedly received requests for more information after Iran said on Tuesday it had reached an initial agreement with Boeing for the supply of jetliners.
Two senior Republican House representatives have said Boeing could threaten US national security with the planned sale of aircraft to Iran.
“American companies should not be complicit in weaponizing” Iran, Representatives Jeb Hensarling and Peter Roskam were reported to have said in a letter to Boeing released on Friday.
In their letter to Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg, the lawmakers asked for “clarification” of the current state of negotiations.
A senior Iranian official said on Friday serious talks were underway between the two sides and expected “good news” about them to be announced within a couple of days.
The European Commission announced on Thursday that the Iranian flag carrier Iran Air has been taken off a safety blacklist and cleared to fly the European skies.
Iran Air agreed in January to buy 118 jets worth $27 billion from Airbus and is discussing further orders with Boeing.
Iranian officials have said the country needs as many as 500 jets to renew its fleet which has suffered under US-led sanctions for years, marked by a series of disasters in which hundreds of people have lost their lives.
Iran’s current civil aviation fleet consists of 248 aircraft with an average age of 20 years, of which 100 are grounded.
Israel law center Shurat Hadin said on Thursday it had told Boeing that it would place liens on any of its airplanes sold to Iran.
The center claims to be representing hundreds of families of alleged victims of terrorism, who have been awarded billions of dollars in damages from frozen Iranian assets.
Shurat Hadin reportedly warned Boeing that a nuclear deal the US and several others countries signed with Iran in July, lifting many sanctions on Tehran, did not override American judgments held by the families the Israeli center represents, which means they can serve liens on anything Iran purchases.
US Representatives Hensarling and Roskam have asked whether Boeing could guarantee that Iran could not convert Boeing passenger jets to cargo aircraft and whether it would repossess aircraft if the nuclear agreement fell through.
The nuclear pact reached by President Barack Obama was opposed by every Republican member of the US Congress. Several questioned the Boeing deal as soon as the news reports came out.
The planned Boeing deal would be the biggest by far between a US company and Tehran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Apart from Airbus and Boeing, Iran is also negotiating with several other global aviation giants over the purchases of planes including Bombardier and Embraer.
According to media reports, Iran’s order list from the American aviation giant includes narrow-body 737s for domestic flights and two-aisle 777s for long-haul routes.