In a vote heavily along party lines, the House of Representatives today voted 243-174 to forbid all sales of civilian passenger planes to Iran. The bill is aimed at derailing major contracts signed by Boeing and Airbus to modernize Iran’s airliner fleet.
Iran sought to replace its old fleet, which is ailing and increasingly not serviceable, with two roughly equal contracts from the two major global supplies. Though only Boeing is actually a US company, Airbus’ offerings contain US parts, which would make it very difficult for them to try to work around such sanctions.
The possibility that Airbus could do so, and make totally “US-free” planes to sell to Iran, is particularly concerning to Boeing, which has warned that Iran is such a large near-term customer that losing their share of the deals to Airbus could put them at a long-term competitive disadvantage, costing US jobs.
The House bill is unlikely to become law, with still no timeline for a Senate vote. Even if the Senate approves the same bill, President Obama is expected to veto it, and it will not have a veto-proof majority, meaning the vote is largely symbolic.