With all eyes on Ukraine, few Americans are following the Iran nuclear negotiations. The Biden administration has shared little with the public or Congress about the progress of the talks. But if the past is any guide, the U.S. may be on the brink of making a significant national-security mistake by agreeing to sell Tehran American- and European-made passenger jets—and the technology necessary to maintain them.
In the original Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, negotiated by the Obama administration in 2015, the U.S. and Europe agreed to sell Iran hundreds of modern commercial aircraft. At the time, opponents in Congress, such as future Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said the sales would enable the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to weaponize commercial aircraft in terrorist attacks reminiscent of 9/11. Attorney Mark Dubowitz testified before Congress in July 2016 that without any way to control usage, aircraft may be commandeered at the whim of the IRGC to move troops and supplies for malign activities. In fact, some major Iranian airlines like Mahan were excluded from the 2015 deal because they directly supported IRGC activities.