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House GOP passes bill to block aircraft sales to Iran
House Republicans took another stab at blocking the sale of aircraft to Iran on Thursday.
In a mostly party-line vote, the House voted 243-174 to pass a bill that would prohibit any U.S. financial transactions connected to the export of passenger airplanes to Iran. It would also revoke previously enacted authorities enabling aircraft sales to the country.
"This bill would keep Americans' deposits away from a country that the president's own State Department calls the world's foremost state sponsor of terrorism, and which the Treasury Department has designated a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern," Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), the legislation's main sponsor, said during floor debate Wednesday. "How many more red flags need to go up?"
The move comes nearly two months after Airbus and Boeing were given the green light to sell airplanes to Iran in a multibillion-dollar deal. The landmark transaction was made possible after sanctions were lifted on Iran as part of an international nuclear deal struck earlier this year.
Republicans and some Democratic critics of the deal have expressed concern that the planes would be used by Iran for illicit activities, such as ferrying weapons to Syria in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
But the White House issued a swift veto threat of Huizenga's bill earlier this week, warning it would violate the nuclear agreement.
"I'm disappointed we are yet again debating a Republican bill to undermine the Iran nuclear deal," said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). "This is a dangerous move, that if enacted, would put us and global security at risk."
The House passed another GOP-led bill this summer that would block Boeing and Airbus aircraft sales to Iran. But it went nowhere in the Senate, where the bill would need to draw some Democratic support.
Republicans, however, may be more hopeful for action on the issue under President-elect Donald Trump, who has vowed to rip up the Iran deal.