Illinois congressmen urge Boeing CEO not to do business with Iran

A group of Illinois congressmen have written to Boeing CEO, Dennis Muilenburg, urging the US aircraft manufacturer to avoid doing business with Iran so as not to upgrade the country’s fleet.

Republican congressmen Bob Dold, Randy Hultgren and Peter Roskam outlined their concerns in the letter that a relationship between Boeing and Iran could lead to the country turning US planes into Iranian ‘warplanes’.

The three lawmakers also expressed their concerns that selling aircraft to Iran would subsidise a country that is a leading sponsor of terrorism.

The letter and concerns come in response to Boeing reportedly offering Iranian airlines three models of new aircraft to replace the country’s aging aircraft fleet.

The letter from the three Illinois congressman to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg outlines their fear of what could occur if Boeing were to sell Iran aircraft.

“It is our strong belief Western companies should not sell, lease, or otherwise aid (Iran) in the pronouncement of aircraft, parts, or related services,” the letter reads.

“Such commercial transactions would effectively subsidise 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,

“We urge Boeing – in the strongest possible terms – not to do business with Iran until it ends its support for terror,

“We are confident Boeing is in compliance with the law, this is not about doing what is legal – it is about doing what is right.”

The Illinois congressmen also said Iran’s “despotic leaders” would be the greatest beneficiaries of any aircraft sale because they own a majority stake in Iran Air – the country’s flagship carrier.

The lawmaker’s letter also listed a number of examples of what they referred to as “pernicious behaviour” by Iran, which included launching ballistic missiles in violation of UN resolutions, firing rockets near a US aircraft carrier and other warships in the Strait of Hormuz and Iran’s brief capture of US sailors who strayed into its territorial waters.

The letter also references 2015’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which removed certain sanctions previously imposed on Iran over their illegal nuclear program, with an exemption in the plan being the sale of aircraft which Boeing is currently seeking to take advantage of.

DoD ban proposed for companies doing business with Iran

Rep. Peter Roskam, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has been a staunch opponent of US companies doing business with Iran, which has included introducing a bill last week which looks to prohibit the Department of Defense from offering contracts to any company that does business with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other hostile groups or organisations.

Rep. Roskam also spoke out recently about French aviation company Airbus’ potential $25b deal with Iran.

Boeing’s business dealings with Iran were made possible after last year’s landmark nuclear deal between Iran, the US and other world powers which ended international economic sanctions against Iran and allowing airline manufacturers to re-enter the Iran market.

According to Iran’s news agency, Boeing officials have offered 737, 787 and 777 model aircraft to Iran who only have 150 of their 250 commercial planes in use due to lack of spare parts.

Boeing officials visited Tehran last month, with a company spokesman declining to provide specifics about the business negotiations which were closely coordinated by the US government, but stating that the delegation discussed the “capabilities of Boeing airplanes, along with the support the company provides.”