U.S. Representatives Peter J. Roskam (R-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) introduced the Terror-Free Skies Act to curb the use of commercial aircraft in support of international terrorism.
As first reported by CNN, the bill would "initiate an investigation by the Trump administration's Director of National Intelligence If Iran Air or any other airline were to be found to support the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or foreign terrorist organizations, the airline would be added to the U.S. sanctions list and be prevented from receiving new aircraft or U.S.-made parts."
Research from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and American Enterprise Institute have detailed the role of commercial passenger aircraft in supplying the Islamic Republic's worldwide network of terror proxies.
Rep. Roskam released the following statement:
"I'm introducing the Terror-Free Skies Act because we've seen what happens when commercial aircraft are converted to weapons of war. We're asking the intelligence community to provide a full accounting of Iran's use of commercial airlines to support its global network of terror proxies, including the tyrant Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and hold these bad actors accountable for their war crimes."
Last April, Rep. Roskam wrote an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal urging Western companies not to do business in Iran. "If you wouldn't do business with Islamic State, you shouldn't do business with the Islamic Republic," he wrote. Rep. Roskam spoke with French and European media outlets to warn Airbus not to sell planes to the Iranians.
In May, he joined fellow Illinois Reps. Robert Dold and Randy Hultgren in sending a letter to Boeing's CEO urging the Chicago-based company not to empower the terror-sponsoring regime. Senior members of the Congressional delegation from Washington state, where Boeing is the largest private employer, crafted another letter of inquiry.
In June, Iranian regime officials announced their intention to buy and lease 109 new Boeing aircraft in a deal worth up to $25 billion, pending approval from the U.S. government. Rep. Roskam and Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling wrote to Boeing once again, asking specific questions to help them assess the national security implications of such a deal. Rep. Roskam wrote an Op-Ed in USA Today detailing his opposition to the misguided, dangerous proposal.
In July, the Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the implications of aircraft sales to Iran. Both Republicans and Democrats spoke out in support of legislation to block or impede the transfer of these militarily-fungible goods to the world's leading state sponsor or terror.
The House easily passed two amendments authored by Rep. Roskam to block the controversial sales of both Boeing and Airbus aircraft to the Islamic Republic of Iran. The amendments to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act passed by voice vote, indicating overwhelming, bipartisan support.
In November, the House passed legislation blocking financing for aircraft sales to Iran.