April 4, 2007

House Bill Blocking the Resale of F-14 Parts to Iran Wins Committee Approval

Washington DC – In an effort to “prevent Iran from increasing its military force,” a House panel approved a bill on Tuesday that would effectively stop the sale of F-14 fighter jet spare parts. HR 1441, also known as the ‘Stop Arming Iran Act’, was presented to the House Foreign Relations Committee by freshman member Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).

The spare parts have been auctioned off in large quantities since the U.S. retired the F-14s last year. Iran, the only country whose air force heavily depends on the F-14 Tomcat fighter, was alleged to be the destination of many illegally sold and undelivered spare parts seized by the Department of Defense. According to the author, the bill was introduced because these same items, having been resold by the Defense Department, had been illegally brokered to Iran by third parties.

The bill which was approved by voice vote, allows for the parts to be sold to organizations or museums that are involved in “the preservation of F-14 fighter aircraft for historical purposes.”

Describing Iran as a country that continues to financially support organizations that have been designated by the U.S. government as terrorist groups, the bill goes on to say that Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons justified preventing the strengthening of Iran’s armed forces through barring the purchase of spare parts for its F-14 fleet.

Iran is now the only other country that uses the fighter planes. Iran became the first and only foreign customer of the F-14’s in the early 1970s under the Shah’s reign. This fact was not lost on Giffords who said, "I don't believe most Americans are aware of the fact that the Iranians do have a fleet of F-14s and that we sold them to them.” The purchase of these F-14s was part of the largest military sale in U.S. military history.

When the 1979 Islamic Revolution occurred all sales were temporarily suspended. With the further deterioration of relations the sales were stopped indefinitely.

A similar bill, S 387 put forth by Oregon senator Ron Wyden, was introduced on the Senate floor in late January.

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