House Republicans have approved a bill that would cancel proposed deals for Boeing and Airbus to sell up to 200 aircraft to Iran. Doubts have been raised about whether Iran Air could actually afford the $40 billion in orders but the House vote is a clear challenge to the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. The bill must now pass the Senate, where it will get a rough ride and if it passes there it would almost certainly be vetoed by the president. Given that the current power structure has only 60 days left in its mandate, the fate of the deal, which was a linchpin of the nuclear agreement, is in doubt.
The House bill, which passed by a 243-174 vote, specifically blocks the Treasury Department from issuing licenses U.S. banks would need to complete the transactions. The current administration already approved the deals in September. The deal with Iran specifically allowed the sale of aircraft to the state-owned airline but included strict conditions against their militarization or transfer to other entities. Boeing would get up to 109 of the orders and Airbus 112. Although Airbus is based in France, 10 percent of the parts for its aircraft are made in the U.S. After decades of trade embargoes, Iran Air’s fleet is in desperate need of renewal and now consists mainly of older Airbus single-aisle airliners and ATR 72-600 regional turboprops.