National Iranian American Council (NIAC) President Trita Parsi released the following statement after reports indicated that Boeing has reached a preliminary agreement for the sale of civilian passenger aircraft to Iran:
“NIAC applauds the news that Boeing and Iran Air have reached a preliminary agreement for the sale of 100 civilian passenger aircraft and hope that a final agreement can be reached in the near future. For years, NIAC has warned about the deterioration of airline safety in Iran as a result of sanctions and is hopeful that the situation will soon improve.
“The issue is a basic humanitarian one. For too long, ordinary Iranian lives have been placed at risk because sanctions have prevented Iran from repairing and replenishing its civilian airline fleet. This has directly led to Iran suffering from one of the worst airline safety records in the world, with thousands of deaths over the last few decades. This issue has affected American citizens, as well. The Iranian-American community not only has had to fear for the safety of loved ones flying in Iran, but has also flown on many of the outdated craft when visiting friends and family in the country.
“The Iran nuclear deal wisely removed restrictions on companies selling aircraft and parts to Iran, including American companies like Boeing. The interim deal in place from 2014-2015 permitted Iran to purchase spare parts for its aircraft. Airbus, a European aircraft manufacturer, reached a preliminary deal to sell Iran 118 aircraft earlier this year.
“We encourage the U.S. government to expedite the requisite license authorizations to permit Boeing to effectuate this preliminary agreement, and we urge the Iranian government to ensure that such aircraft are used exclusively for civilian purposes. However, as we have seen with numerous trade deals involving Iran, the most difficult part may be finding banks able and willing to authorize payment while many unilateral U.S. sanctions remain in place.
“There will be Members of Congress and outside groups who will seek to cast this positive news for the Iranian people in a negative light. They are likely the same individuals who opposed the Iran nuclear deal before there was even a deal and are opposed to any warming in U.S.-Iran relations. However, continuing to block the Iranian people from flying in safe aircraft would needlessly threaten innocent people and an accord that prevents both an Iranian nuclear weapon and a disastrous war. We encourage all parties to move forward and honor their commitments under the deal.”
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