When President Trump announced last week he would not recertify Barack Obama’s expensive deal with Iran to stop its nuclear-weapons program, he cited a number of “serious flaws.”
He said Iran’s “fanatic regime” repeatedly has attacked and killed Americans, violated the limits on nuclear materials, ensured there will be no effective inspections and continues to pursue a missile program.
Now a new problem with the deal is being investigated: Obama allowed Boeing to sell airliners to Iran’s domestic airline companies, which are using them to transport military personnel and weapons.
The American Center for Law and Justice revealed Tuesday it has launched a Freedom of Information Act fight to obtain documents regarding any accommodations granted by Obama that facilitate Iran’s efforts to “transport jihadist soldiers to the battlefield.”
Such practices are “a blatant violation of international law,” ACLJ said.
“We are demanding that four key agencies involved with the Iran deal – the State Department, the Department of the Treasury, the National Security Agency (NSA), and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) – give us the records that will show what they knew about Iran Air’s use of civilian airliners to transport military personnel and equipment. What they knew matters because, in the Iran deal, they agreed to let Boeing and other plane manufacturers sell airplanes to Iranian airliners like Iran Air,” the ACLJ explained.
The organization explained it previously obtained evidence that “the Obama administration concealed information that Iran – the Number One state sponsor of terror – has made it a practice of shipping jihadists on commercial aircraft to Syria in violation of the international laws governing the Iran nuclear deal.”
It’s not the only instance in the Obama administration went rogue.
“Remember, last year, we took the Obama State Department to federal court to expose one of the key lies advanced by the Obama administration,” ACLJ said. “The State Department lied about when the secret bilateral talks with the Iranian regime actually began, and then deleted press briefing video footage where their spokesperson admitted as much.
“Our lawsuit uncovered the ‘sensitive’ internal memo containing ‘pieces of purposeful editing’ – that a video technician recalled receiving a telephone call from within the State Department directing him to cut the segment in connection to a Fox News reporter’s inquiry.”
The new FOIA actions aim to uncover more of “those Obama-era flaws.”
In a blog posting, ACLJ Executive Director Jordan Sekulow said his group is seeking details regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and any licenses issued to Boeing or Airbus allowing the sale of jets to Iran.
ACLJ wants documents regarding U.S. government knowledge “of Iran’s past use or intended or possible future use of Iran Air jets to transport military personnel and/or equipment, and any discussions prior to the JCPOA concerning Iran Air’s use or possible use of jets for those purposes.”
“Shipping jihadists on commercial aircraft constitutes an outrageous pattern of behavior. This conduct has apparently helped to fuel Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities in Syria,” ACLJ said. “Photographic evidence provided to Congress shows Iran using its state run airline, Iran Air, to ferry militants between 2016 and 2017.
“During this period, the Obama administration removed sanctions on Iran Air in an apparent attempt to promote multi-billion-dollar sales between Iran and aircraft manufacturer Boeing. Going forward, this means that Iran would have more aircraft available to ferry militants not just to war-torn Syria, but to anywhere in the world.”
The group quoted Rep. Peter Roskam’s bill, the Terror-Free Skies Act, in which he says Iran, through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), “provides material and financial support to Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO), including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Kata’ib Hezbollah, as well as to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria which is responsible for over 400,000 civilian deaths.”
“Iran has systematically employed its national air carrier, Iran Air, as well as numerous private and publicly owned Iranian and Syrian airliners, including Mahan Air, to ferry weapons, troops, and military equipment on behalf of the IRGC and Iran’s Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) to FTOs and rogue regimes around the world.”
ACLJ said that while there is “still much that we do not yet know, here is one thing we do know: The Iran deal is a calamity.”
“The Obama administration had to lie to the American people to get it through. We will keep pushing until the United States completely withdraws from the disastrous agreement.”
The FOIA request states: “[T]he number of requests contained herein seek any and all records concerning the connection between the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, OFAC licenses issued to Boeing and Airbus allowing agreements for well over 200 jets, U.S. government knowledge of Iran’s past use or intended or possible future use of Iran Air jets to transport military personnel and/or equipment, and any discussions prior to the JCPOA concerning Iran Air’s use or possible use of jets for those purposes.”
Trump’s decision not to recertify doesn’t mean the deal collapses immediately. Under a 2015 law, the president must inform Congress every 90 days if Iran is complying. A determination that Iran is not in compliance triggers a 60-day process for lawmakers to decide whether or not to reimpose sanctions.
Trump does have the authority, as president, to simply remove the U.S. from the agreement, a move that undoubtedly would send shockwaves through Iran and the other world powers that are parties to the deal.
Russian officials say they believe Iran would walk away from the deal – with the $1.7 billion in American cash they’ve already taken – if the U.S. leaves it.
A report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin explained the deal actually allows no provisions for genuine inspections.
The Middle East Media Research Institute reported it’s because “the inspection procedure takes place only at sites where Iran has agreed to allow inspection, that is, sites Iran itself has declared as nuclear sites, but not at any other sites in Iran, including military sites.”
“The Obama administration and the countries party to the JCPOA designed the JCPOA in a way that on the one hand they can claim that a robust inspection is being applied while on the other hand they allowed Iran to evade inspection in all other sites,” the report explained.