Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement:
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“NIAC welcomes news that the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has begun to issue licenses to Boeing and Airbus for the sale of civil passenger aircraft to Iran. This is a win-win that will save Iranian lives, create jobs for Americans, and ensure that the nuclear accord continues to be implemented.
“This is an important step in living up the U.S.’s obligations under the nuclear accord, which included provisions for the sale of aircraft. In issuing such licenses, the Obama administration has also made an important humanitarian gesture to the Iranian people, as the safety of Iran’s skies is one of the key concerns for travelers in Iran.
“For the past three decades, U.S. sanctions have prevented Iran from purchasing new civil passenger aircraft. The consequence of this has been that Iran’s aviation safety record is one of the worst in the world, largely attributable to its decade-old passenger aircraft fleet. It was a mistake for the U.S. government to use the safety of Iran’s skies as leverage in its conflict with the Iranian government. It risked alienating the Iranian people and using an issue that was fundamentally humanitarian as a pawn piece.
“Licensing Boeing and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran remedies this historical mistake. President Obama has long said that building connections to the Iranian people was fundamentally in the U.S.’s interest. Today’s news is one more step in that direction, building on the promise that person-to-person interaction between the Iranian and American people can lay the groundwork for the U.S. and Iran to resolve their disputes in a peaceful manner.
“Moreover, the issuance of the licenses will create thousands of jobs for Americans, as Boeing’s proposed contract with Iran totals close to $25 billion and will last more than a decade. As NIAC’s 2014 report, “Losing Billions: The Cost of Iran Sanctions to the U.S. Economy,” found, the United States has sacrificed as much as $175 billion in potential export revenue and hundreds of thousands of lost job opportunities between 1995-2012 due to its trade embargo with Iran. Boeing’s high-profile dealing with Iran promises to upend this unnecessary harm to the U.S. economy.
“NIAC also encourages the Obama administration to continue to take steps to resolve lingering problems related to the lifting of sanctions under the nuclear accord. The lifting of sanctions was intended to bring economic relief to the Iranian people, yet that relief has been in short supply since last July. So long as Iran is upholding its end of the nuclear bargain, the United States should be diligent and steadfast in observing its own commitments and ensuring that the benefits of the nuclear accord run in both directions.”