Why Boeing’s Iran Deal Matters
What could be wrong about the possibility of an American aircraft manufacturer gaining a lucrative foreign contract? In an era when the Obama administration has been cutting back on defense spending and airlines have been a troubled industry, opening a new market would be a bright spot for any major company. It would mean more jobs and also decrease the trade deficit. Everybody would be happy right? Except, in this case, the people who would be the happiest about the deal would be the theocrats of Tehran.
The deal in question is the very real possibility that the Boeing Company will soon be selling aircraft to Iran. As the New York Times reports, Boeing officials have been invited to discuss such a wide-ranging transaction with the Islamist regime. It would be the first major business transaction between a U.S. company and Iran since before the Islamic Revolution of 1979. That’s why rather than viewing this merely through the lens of a large company looking for more business, we must understand the potential Boeing-Iran deal as the next stage of progress towards détente with the Islamist regime that was always the real purpose of the nuclear accord.
Though Iran is eager to break down every vestige of the international sanctions that isolated it prior to the adoption of the nuclear deal, this particular arrangement should come as no surprise. Though little noticed at the time, the Iran deal contained a specific provision that the United States would permit “the sale of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran.” Indeed, last month Boeing announced that the U.S. government had granted it a license to begin talks with Iran about selling them a brand new fleet of planes. Modernizing their transportation industry is a top post-deal priority for Iran, so that makes Boeing the perfect partner for the ayatollahs even as they are also shopping for clients and vendors in Europe.
But the particular significance of the discussions with Boeing is that Congress has not lifted U.S. sanctions on Iran. Thus, while European governments and industries have been conducting a gold rush in Tehran doing their best to get a cut of the massive windfall that the end of international sanctions is creating, Americans are still standing on the sidelines. But by granting Boeing permission to do business with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, the Obama administration is seeking to create a large exception that will work to unravel resistance to warm relations with Iran.
As was apparent throughout the nuclear negotiations, the real point of the effort wasn’t merely to postpone for a decade Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon. That paltry achievement that, even if the Iranians observe the terms of the deal, leaves their nuclear program intact and makes it possible for it to weaponize fairly easily once the deal expires. But the president has all along hoped that engagement intended to allow Iran to “get right with the world” would mean the regime would moderate during this period.
That there are no signs of any such moderation, as Iran continues violating United Nations resolutions on its ballistic missile program and as well as funding international terror. It is helping Hamas replenish its rocket arsenal and rebuild its terror tunnels into Israel while also aiding Hezbollah and ensuring that Bashar Assad’s brutal regime survives in Syria with the help of Iranian troops and auxiliaries. Even the New York Times noted that the vast sums flowing into Iran from the collapse of sanctions would largely enrich the government and businesses its terrorist arm — the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps — rather than private firms and individuals.
There has been a lot of reporting about the recent Iranian election that sought to spin that faux democratic event as a sign that the regime was loosening its grip on society. But, as I’ve noted before, that is a deception. All the candidates that were allowed to run in the vote were vetted by the regime. The breakdown between the so-called hardliners and the alleged moderates is largely artificial. More to the point, even the moderates back Iran’s nuclear push, aid to terrorists and its quest for regional hegemony that scares its Arab neighbors as much if not more than it does the state of Israel that Tehran has targeted for elimination.
Thus, the deepening of ties with Iran will have the opposite effect that some Americans would like to believe. Rather than making Iran more pliable and invested in good relations with the West, the enriching of the regime would make it more dangerous.
That is why the Boeing deal is so troubling. The aircraft exception in the nuclear deal was the foot in the door that Iran and those who favor détente with the regime need in order to grant it impunity to continue as a rogue state even as it profits from deals with Western businesses. Once Boeing is established as a major partner with the Islamists, it will be that much more difficult for the West or any American government to rip up the deal even if Iran engages in blatant violations. Instead of just apologists for Iran working to oppose the re-imposition of sanctions or retribution for Iran atrocities and terrorism, the Boeing deal will create a new constituency for Iran appeasement that will be difficult to overcome.
Rather than cheering for Boeing, those who see Iran for what it is — a vicious, anti-Semitic tyranny bent on war against Israel and all its foes as well as ultimately the West — we should understand that this new Iran deal is the death knell to accountability and an assurance that Tehran is safe from retribution no matter what it does.