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Boeing sale of aircraft to Iran likely to be halted

In January it was officially announced that the US would be lifting most of its economic sanctions against Iran after 37 years of existence. The sanctions were lifted as a result of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirming that Tehran has met its commitments to roll back its nuclear programme, under an agreement with China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the U.S and Germany on July 14, 2015.
On June 21 it was announced that Boeing had signed an MOA (memorandum of agreement) with the Iranian government in a landmark deal that would see the purchase of 80 Boeing aircraft and 29 taken on lease with the support of Boeing. Delivery of the purchased jets was scheduled for between 2017 and 2025.
When negotiations began a year ago between the aircraft manufacturer and the Iranian government they received the support of most congressional Democrats. However, it was not supported by Republicans, the consequence of which has seen a US House of Representatives’ panel now debate possible legislation which will block the proposed deal.
There are three measures which could be introduced in a bid to halt the sale of the aircraft. The first would be to bar the US Treasury from licensing the sale. The second would be to bar the Treasury Secretary from approving the transaction as it would involve a US financial institution connected to the export of aircraft. Finally, the third measure would be to bar the Import-Export Bank from providing finance to a third party in order to facilitate the deal with Iran.
Representative Bill Huizenga, chairman of the Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee, is quoted as saying “I am extremely concerned that by relaxing the rules; the Obama administration has allowed US companies to be complicit in weaponizing the Iranian regime.”
Barack Obama and other Democrats are likely to oppose the new legislation, while a House committee aide has indicated that the full financial services committee would be likely to approve the bills, though as yet a vote had not been scheduled. Clearly the measures reveal the level of concern by Republicans, who have controlling majorities in both the House and Senate, about the potential Boeing sale.

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