Should the government stop Boeing from selling planes to Iran?

This seems like an odd question to even be asking, doesn’t it? And that apply on two different fronts. There was a codicil in the Iran nuclear deal which would allow that nation to purchase airplanes and aircraft parts from United States suppliers. I suppose that’s the first strange part of the story in and of itself. Why did we agree to that and what does it have to do with either peaceful nuclear power or the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology? Did Iran need some extra 747s to fly out all the plutonium they’re supposedly not going to use now? Either way, when you’re talking about airplanes the first name that comes to mind in many cases is Boeing and they’re lining up to sell Iran some aircraft. But three members of Congress aren’t thrilled with the idea and are asking them to steer clear of the deal. (The Hill)

A trio of House lawmakers is pressing the Boeing Company to refrain from selling aircraft, parts or related services to Iran, citing the country’s links to terror financing.

In a letter to Boeing’s chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg this week, the Illinois Republicans blasted the Chicago-based company for reportedly considering a business deal with Tehran.

“Such commercial transactions would effectively subsidize the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, significantly augmenting the regime’s ability to sow the seeds of death and destruction around the globe,” the lawmakers wrote.

The letter is signed by Illinois Republican Reps. Peter Roskam, Robert Dold and Randy Hultgren.

That brings us to the second “weird” part of the equation. This isn’t a piece of legislation which would ban the sales. It’s three congressmen from Illinois sending a personal request. In that light I suppose there’s nothing wrong with it. Previously, long standing sanctions prevented American companies from engaging in such transactions, but now that the gate has been thrown open, Iran is ready to start spending their cash on upgrading the Iran Air fleet. Still, as the congressmen point out, we’re dealing with some bad guys who have a history of sponsoring terror. Who knows what the planes will be used for.

The fact that it’s not a legislative battle tosses the ball back in Boeing’s court. As the congressmen put it in their letter, it’s not a question of doing what’s legal, but doing what’s right. Boeing is a business in a highly competitive market space. And we are, of course, a capitalist nation. If they have customers lined up to purchase a very expensive product, do they have some obligation to not make the sale? After all, they already sell planes to the Russians – in no small part thanks to Hillary Clinton’s negotiating skills. They’re in the process of selling 300 jets to China and are even setting up an aerospace plant there. Admittedly, Iran is more of a directly linked terror state, but we’re already doing business with some fairly shady characters, but not all of them. We don’t allow sales to North Korea, which probably won’t come as a surprise. (They do have a national airline, though, flying mostly older, small capacity Russian jets.)

I suppose in the end it’s up to Boeing. If the door has been opened to the deal and they want to make a profit, who will stop them? You’d have a hard time boycotting every airline that used Boeing planes.


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