The largest US trade deal with Iran in decades, Boeing today signed an agreement with Iran Air, the nation’s national airliner, to provide 80 passenger jets for $16.6 billion. The deal is one of two huge deals Iran Air has secured, with Boeing and Airbus, to replace virtually their entire fleet, which was mostly built in the 1960s.
Congressional hawks have been warning against the deal on “national security” grounds, arguing that the passenger planes could conceivably transfer troops in some future Iranian ground war against US troops. The House passed a bill recently trying to derail any such deal by blocking any banks from financing it.
President Obama is likely to veto such a bill, however, and the Senate hasn’t voted on it, and may not vote on it at all. Still, several in Congress are vowing a fight the deal, and say they expect the incoming Trump Administration to help them derail such a trade.
Boeing already has the current administration’s approval for the deal, and European rival Airbus is already going forward with their own deal. This means that derailing the deal is a lot more difficult than some in Congress are suggesting, and it’s going to be very tough to sell the idea of killing Boeing’s exports for no rational reason, setting the stage for that business going to a foreign competitor.