Do not sell Iranian passenger planes

Fard Shaheen, a lawyer specializing in sanctions and trade controls, said the administration of US President Joe Biden has shared little information with the public or Congress about the progress of negotiations with Iran to return to the nuclear deal.

Allowing Iran legal access to an abundance of US technology will only add to the host of cyber threats faced by mostly US companies.

He added that experience reveals that the United States may have been on the verge of making a serious mistake against national security by agreeing to sell Tehran American and European passenger planes and the technology needed to maintain them.

early warnings
And Katie Shaheen, who is also a former senior global trade adviser to Boeing, told the Wall Street Journal that the United States and Europe agreed to sell Iran hundreds of modern commercial aircraft following the 2015 nuclear deal.

Opponents of the deal at the time, including Senator and later Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said the sales would enable the Revolutionary Guard to arm commercial aircraft in terrorist attacks that would remind the world of the September 11, 2001 attacks. .

Attorney Mark Dubowitz testified before Congress in July 2016, in which he said that without any means to control the destination, commercial aircraft could be caught with the Revolutionary Guard’s desire to transport forces and supplies to carry out malicious activities.

In fact, Iranian airlines known as Mahan were excluded from the nuclear deal because they directly supported the activities of the Revolutionary Guard.

aviation technology
Shaheen added that the technological gap between Iran and the West has widened since 2015 due to the West’s development and its sanctions.

Today’s commercial aircraft are made from lightweight and efficient composites, sophisticated electronics, and high-efficiency jet engines, all of which were considered military technology just a few years ago. Even China, more advanced than Iran, remains dependent on jet engine technology in a joint US-French project to keep its domestic merchant fleet, the C-919, afloat.


Providing these technologies to Iran today would be detrimental to American interests. No airline would be able to operate and maintain advanced aircraft without billions of data on many aircraft subsystems.

The intellectual property of American companies is constantly exposed to foreign cyber attacks by malicious players, including Iran.

Although U.S. officials such as Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco have acknowledged that cyberattacks have become more widespread, sophisticated and dangerous, the United States appears determined to move forward with this provision of the agreement.

Allowing Iran legal access to an abundance of US technology will only add to the host of cyber threats faced by mostly US companies.

after censorship
Access under an export license will not be sufficient. U.S. companies, no matter how sophisticated, are not well equipped to effectively monitor compliance when Iran has the legal right to access U.S. airspace data. Even the most well-intentioned Iran Air will have to agree if the Revolutionary Guard seeks to use legally authorized access to steal technology to achieve their goals.

hacking technology
In 2015, when the United States authorized the sale of aircraft to Iran, officials from the Commerce, Treasury, and State departments worked diligently with U.S. industry to establish a tight licensing and control system to export critical technical data. The effort was logical and proportionate to addressing the known dangers of the day.

In developing licensing terms, Shaheen and others say, Iran Air should restrict access to only aircraft-related data it has purchased and prevent it from searching U.S. databases for more sensitive information.

The export of the license and the contractual clauses between the seller and the buyer make this express. But hacking technology has evolved significantly since 2015, and in 2022, the Revolutionary Guard may want to hack into security programs in the United States and Europe.

bad deal
If the Biden administration is not happy with the conclusion of an agreement with the airlines under the control of the Revolutionary Guard, then the sale of advanced aircraft to Iran would be foolish.

“I want the Biden administration to understand that no deal is better than a bad deal,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez. The sale of the planes to Iran would make it an unequivocally bad deal.

We are sorry
Shaheen explains that the Iranian people are not America’s enemy and they deserve to travel on safe planes that were not manufactured with black market parts with government approval and that operated long after the expiration date.

Finally, the writer regrets that this reality cannot be changed under the current Iranian regime without endangering American national security.

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