Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Opinion: The Boeing Blow


The economy is very important to the existence of the Iranian regime and was the main motive for it signing the nuclear deal with the west. However, Tehran has still not achieved what is desired and has not obtained what it was promised.
The biggest disappointment that Iran has faced concerning the JCPOA agreement that it signed with the west earlier this year came when an American congressional subcommittee blocked Boeing’s deal to sell Iran 100 passenger aircrafts which would have been the biggest deal in Iranian history.
Not only did the subcommittee’s decision block the deal to sell 100 Boeing planes to Iran, but it also blocked European Airbus factories from selling 118 civilian aircraft to Iran because they contain parts manufactured in America. Lawmakers in Congress have not given politicians and traders any opportunities to bypass the ban.
A number of parties testified before the congressional subcommittee that Iran uses its national carrier Iran Air’s fleet of passenger aircraft to transport gunmen, weapons and money to Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The committee warned Boeing that it would be complicit in such activities in the event that the deal was finalised and if Iran used its planes. Boeing acknowledged that it will not have authority over how the Iranian regime would use them.
The subcommittee’s decision will halt production and block Boeing’s $24 billion deal which was supposed to be financed partly by Iranian funds that have been frozen since the time of the Shah. It seems that the US government does not want to defend the deal with Iran, and this is another sign of frosty relations with Tehran three months after the historic agreement and the agreement to end hostility were celebrated.
Even if the US government decided to confront Congress and reverse the decision, that would take a long time which the Obama administration does not have as the President’s term ends in less than five months.
What was the Iranian government’s reaction? It has either not recovered from the shock yet or is trying to keep calm as there are opponents to the agreement with the west. The new spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Bahram Ghasemi said “We do not care about what’s going on (with regards to) internal affairs over there, we expect the US government to honour its commitments”.
International sanctions on Iran have suffocated it and would have threatened its existence if its government had not agreed to freeze its nuclear programme after it had previously refused to even talk about it. If it does not achieve the trade that it wants through the deal, Iran will face a difficult internal political crisis.
Iran has disappointed Western politicians who thought that the agreement would make it a positive force in the region. What has actually happened is that the regime has become more evil due to the agreement.
Most of the speakers who participated in many of the recent seminars and sessions on Iran said that they got the same impression; that the Iranian regime has increased its aggressive military activity in the region after it signed the agreement and not vice versa. Its relationship with the west is shrouded in mutual distrust and the results of the JCPOA remain controversial.
There are doubts about the Iranian government’s behaviour after information about its quest to purchase devices related to nuclear production on the European market has come to light, and the formation of the team that is in charge of monitoring the nuclear deal has not yet been completed.
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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