Dear Mr. Muilenberg:
We write to express our concern regarding the Boeing Company's ongoing discussions with government-run entities in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is our strong belief Western companies should not sell, lease, or otherwise aid the Islamic Republic in the procurement of aircraft, parts, or related services. Such commercial transactions would effectively subsidize 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 have already conveyed this message to your international competitors in the aviation industry.
The recently-implemented Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) removes sanctions previously imposed on the Islamic Republic over its illegal nuclear program. As Iran remains among of the gravest threats to global stability and U.S. national security, the JCPOA left in place most sanctions and prohibitions related to the country's human rights violations, ballistic missile program, and support for terrorism. A specific exception was made for commercial aircraft sales at the behest of Tehran. 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.
Iran's ongoing pattern of pernicious behavior is well-documented. We have attached an addendum to this letter detailing some of the regime's latest provocations. Recently, Iran violated numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions by launching ballistic missiles. It detained and humiliated ten American service-members in violation of international protocols, forcing a female sailor to don a hijab and later using videos and photographs for anti-American propaganda purposes. Iranian naval forces fired several rockets within 1,500 yards of a U.S. aircraft carrier.
The greatest beneficiaries of any potential aircraft sale to Iran would be the Islamic Republic's despotic leaders. The regime holds a majority ownership stake in Iran Air, the country's flag carrier, with whom Boeing is widely reported to have begun negotiations. Iran Air was sanctioned by the Treasury Department for using its planes to ferry troops, weapons, and cash on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). From the Treasury Department report:
Rockets or missiles have been transported via Iran Air passenger aircraft, and IRGC officers occasionally take control over Iran Air flights carrying special IRGC-related cargo. The IRGC is also known to disguise and manifest such shipments as medicine and generic spare parts, and IRGC officers have discouraged Iran Air pilots from inspecting potentially dangerous IRGC-related cargo being carried aboard a commercial Iran Air aircraft, including to Syria.
Iran Air was only recently delisted by Treasury in what was largely viewed as a concession related to the JCPOA. The airline is still owned and operated by a regime whose leaders have only grown bolder and brasher since the deal's implementation. There is every reason to believe Iran Air will continue to provide logistical support for terrorism and illicit activity around the world. We urge you not to be complicit in the likely conversion of Boeing aircraft to IRGC warplanes.
Boeing is truly an American icon, the global leader in aerospace and aviation technology. Your company creates thousands of jobs in our state and reinforces Chicago's standing as a leading hub for technology and innovation. As elected representatives from Illinois, we have always been proud to work with Boeing. But we also have a responsibility to do everything in our power to keep our communities safe. In this capacity we implore you not to sell such great airplanes to such bad actors. There will be long-term national security consequences of any decision to supply militarily-fungible products like aircraft to those who wish our nation harm.
The Islamic Republic is not simply an emerging market for Boeing. It is a radical Islamic regime dominated by zealots who seek nothing less than the destruction of the United States and the shared democratic principles of the Western world.
We will do everything in our power to prevent Iran from obtaining additional means to threaten our national security. We are actively exploring legislative and other means to make sure Western companies understand the risks and repercussions of placing profits over the safety and well-being of the American people. Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
PETER J. ROSKAM
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Arthur D. Collins Jr.
Kenneth M. Duberstein
Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr.
Lynn J. Good
Lawrence W. Kellner
Edward M. Liddy
Susan C. Schwab
Randall L. Stephenson
Ronald A. Williams
Mike S. Zafirovski