Do you think state sponsors of terrorism should be allowed to purchase commercial aircraft that could be used for military purposes?
What if it was the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism? And what if it was the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism which had a history of using commercial aircraft for military purposes?
You might think like me, sales of commercial aircraft to such a country should be blocked.
But President Obama doesn’t think so.
As a part of his nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama agreed to license exports of dual-use commercial-military aircraft, even though Iran has used similar aircraft to re-supply and support terrorists in the past.
Five years ago, the Obama Administration imposed sanctions on Iran Air for multiple infractions including using passenger and cargo planes to transport rockets and missiles to places such as Syria, and members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps taking control of flights carrying sensitive cargo.
The administration used a technicality to drop those penalties as part of last year’s nuclear deal.
Just last month, it was reported that Iran Air aircraft were spotted flying along known weapon resupply routes in Syria. Moreover, Iran Air has previously been accused of facilitating illegal weapon transfers between Iran and North Korea, further bolstering North Korea’s illicit ballistic missile program.
This is the airline company President Obama wants to receive new planes.
But this week, I introduced a bill to stop Iran Air from procuring American-made planes that could facilitate the trafficking of arms to terror organizations, and was pleased when the House Financial Services Committee quickly took it up and passed the bill through committee.
HR 5729, the Stop U.S. Support for State Sponsors of Terrorism Act, is simple — it prohibits the Administration from allowing exports of dual-use commercial-military aircraft to Iran.
If our government is truly serious in opposing terrorist groups and stopping the flow of resources to groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, then we cannot support the export of these aircraft to Iran.
THE WEEK IN WASHINGTON
In light of the attacks in France, working with our allies to combat terrorism is more important than ever. This week the House of Representatives passed a bill I sponsored increasing our anti-terrorism efforts abroad with our allies. The Enhancing Treasury’s Anti-Terror Tools Act (H.R. 5607) requires the Treasury Department to investigate how to incorporate our Embassies into counter-terrorism financing efforts, including the possible expansion of overseas personnel to share technical expertise with our allies in an effort to better identify and intercept terrorist financing.
The issue of abortion is one of the most contentious issues in the public debate, but there should be room to find common ground. We should all be able to agree that under no circumstances should the government be able to use its power to deny people their First Amendment conscience rights. That’s why this week we passed the Conscience Protection Act, which ensures health care providers cannot be punished for not participating in abortions. Freedom is a cornerstone of our governing document — the Constitution. We must not lose respect for freedom and conscience protections in health care.
Following up on previous action and new revelations, this week I sent a letter cosigned by 14 Members of Congress, urging the Commerce, Treasury, and State Departments to impose stiff penalties on a Chinese government-affiliated company, ZTE Corporation, for blatantly violating Iran export control laws. These laws are intended to restrict technologies which could be used to oppress human rights.
U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-Charlotte, represents North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District, which will include Richmond County next year under state redistricting maps.