The Obama administration has approved U.S. civilian jets owned by foreign carriers to travel to Iran for 72 hours, according to a notice issued by the U.S. Treasury late Friday afternoon.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after the Democratic National Convention concluded in Philadelphia, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepted her party’s nomination for the presidency. Clinton backed the Iran deal, and has taken credit for helping start the talks, with an adviser saying she was “centrally involved” at the time.
The new notice still applies restrictions to the use of U.S. aircraft in Iran. In addition to a “temporary sojourn” lasting no more than 72 hours, the U.S.-made jets cannot transport arms, ballistic missile components, or materials used to make chemical and biological weapons. Other restrictions are detailed by the Treasury announcement.
Congress has vigorously resisted the president’s effort to allow U.S. aerospace companies to sell their technology and their products to Iran. Earlier this month, the House passed two amendments authored by Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) that would stop Boeing from selling aircraft to Iran.
As The Hill reported July 7: “One amendment prohibits the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) from using funds to authorize a license necessary to allow aircraft to be sold to Iran. The other amendment ensures Iran will not receive loans from U.S. financial institutions to purchase militarily-fungible aircraft, by prohibiting the OFAC from using funds to authorize the financing of such transactions.” Neither amendment has yet become law.
Iran Air is seeking to buy U.S. jets. It was removed from sanctions under the Iran deal, but critics of such sales argue the airline is linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite military wing that is involved in terror and lucrative investments.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) wrote last month to Secretary of State John Kerry and other officials, urging the Obama administration to block the sale: “Iran Air’s aircraft will undoubtedly be used in the future to continue to funnel lethal assistance to [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, to Hezbollah, and to other terrorist entities,” he wrote, The Hill reported at the time. “It is almost certain that Iran Air continues to support the IRGC and the Quds Force,” Sherman added.
The new approval also comes as Iran has seized another American, apparently for criticizing the regime’s human rights record.
In her acceptance speech Thursday night, Hillary Clinton said: “I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot – now we have to enforce it, and keep supporting Israel’s security.” She made no mention of Iran’s threats to the U.S., or to its involvement in the devastating Syrian civil war, which began when Clinton was Secretary of State.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.