Posted tagged ‘Aircraft sale to Iran’

Senator who Protected Iran’s Nukes Wants Hearing on Trump’s Nukes

November 9, 2017

Senator who Protected Iran’s Nukes Wants Hearing on Trump’s Nukes, The Point (FrontPage Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, November 9, 2017

 

Senator Bob Corker (R-Boeing) is at it again. This time he’s using the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to troll Trump.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., announced Wednesday that he would convene a hearing to examine the president’s authority to use nuclear weapons.

The announcement of the Nov.14 hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which Corker chairs, amounts to a significant escalation of what has so far been a war of merely words between the powerful Republican and his party’s standard-bearer.

“A number of members both on and off our committee have raised questions about the authorities of the legislative and executive branches with respect to war making, the use of nuclear weapons, and conducting foreign policy overall,” Corker said in a statement Wednesday.

Sure. Let’s undermine North Korea’s perception of the first strike authority of the President of the United States.

That’s the only conceivable thing these hearings can accomplish. That and annoying Trump. And that seems to motivate Corker as much as any Democrat. 

But can the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have a hearing on the role that domestic financial and political interests played in creating an echo chamber that allowed Iran to continue developing its nuclear program? I’m sure Senator Corker would have something to say about that.

The Constitution’s treaty procedures would have required Obama to win the approval of two-thirds of the Senate, which would have been impossible. The Corker legislation flipped this, allowing Obama to prevail unless there was two-thirds’ opposition in both houses of Congress – meaning blocking Obama would be impossible.

I suggested one reason: top GOP donors like Boeing stood to cash in big-time if the Iran deal was consummated. Boeing had ingratiated itself with Tehran when Obama granted some sanctions relief for Iran’s crippled aviation sector in order to keep the mullahs at the negotiation table. Boeing leapt in to provide Iran Air, the regime’s national carrier, with all manner of assistance – notwithstanding that Iran Air, basically an arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, was best known for providing material support to Hezbollah and the Assad regime. Indeed, in 2011, the Treasury Department designated Iran Air as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.

By helping Iran at a key point in the negotiations, I pointed out, Boeing stood to win huge Iranian contracts once the Iran deal was approved and sanctions were lifted. Well I know you’ll be shocked to hear this, but Iran has just announced a huge deal to buy aircraft from Boeing!

Yes, let’s have that hearing. Please.

Iran Caught Shipping Soldiers to Syria on Commercial Flights in Violation of Nuclear Deal

August 23, 2017

Iran Caught Shipping Soldiers to Syria on Commercial Flights in Violation of Nuclear Deal, Washington Free Beacon, August 23, 2017

New photographs obtained by congressional leaders show Iran shipping militant soldiers to Syria on commercial airline flights, a move that violates the landmark nuclear agreement and has sparked calls from U.S. lawmakers for a formal investigation by the Trump administration, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

Photographs published by a Washington, D.C., think-tank and provided to Congress show Iran using its flagship commercial carrier, Iran Air, to ferry militants to Syria, where they have joined the fight against U.S. forces in the region.

The new photographic evidence has roiled congressional leaders, who accuse Iran of violating the nuclear deal, which prohibits it from using commercial air carriers for military purposes. These lawmakers are demanding the Trump administration investigate the matter and consider imposing new sanctions on Iran.

The release of these photographs allegedly showing Iran Air’s illegal activity comes as top U.S. air carrier manufacturer Boeing moves forward with a multi-billion dollar deal to sell Iran Air a new modern fleet. Many in Congress have opposed the deal due to Iran’s longstanding use of commercial aircraft for military purposes, such as transporting weapons and troops to regional hotspots such as Syria and elsewhere.

Iran Air’s central role in the illicit transportation of militant forces to Syria could complicate Boeing’s efforts to move forward with the sale, which still requires approval from the Trump administration’s Treasury Department.

Congressional leaders are now calling for a suspension of all licenses permitting these sales in light of the new evidence, according to a letter obtained by the Free Beacon.

“Iran’s use of commercial aircraft for military purposes violates international agreements as well as Iranian commitments under the JCPOA,” or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, according to the delegation of lawmakers pushing for an investigation. “We believe these photos mandate a thorough investigation of these practices and a comprehensive review of Iran’s illicit use of commercial aircraft.”

“During this investigation, the United States should suspend current and future licenses for aircraft sales to Iran,” the letter goes on to say.

Those calling for an investigation include Reps. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.), Andy Barr (R., Ken.), and David Reichert (R., Wash.).

“Iran Air has engaged in Iran’s illicit transport of military goods and personnel to Syria since implementation of the” nuclear deal, the lawmakers write.

The Treasury Department has vowed in the past to consider and investigate any new evidence revealing Iran’s illicit use of commercial aircraft. The lawmakers are urging the Trump administration to make good on this promise.

“In light of these assurances to both investigate evidence of Iranian wrongdoing and to re-designate Iranian airlines engaging in sanctionable activity, we strongly urge you to investigate the enclosed photos,” the lawmakers write. “If as a result of your investigation, you find Iran Air guilty of conducting military transports with commercial aircraft, it should be re-designated.”

The new photographs, reportedly taken in 2016 and 2017, show Iranian fighters aboard Iran Air planes on their way to Syria to pick up arms in support of embattled President Bashar al-Assad.

The militants are believed to be affiliated with the Fatemiyoun Brigade, an Afghan Shiite militia, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which first disclosed the photographs to Congress.

“These photos seem to display militiamen sitting on seats clearly labeled with the Iran Air logo,” the lawmakers inform the Treasury Department. “These individuals are not Afghani civilians; they are believed to be members of an Iranian-backed militia, trained and funded by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), actively fighting for the Assad regime in the Syria.”

Iran Air is guilty of “facilitating the ongoing atrocities committed against the Syrian people by the Assad regime and its allies,” the lawmakers write.

The issue has become all the more pressing in light of recent attacks by Iranian-backed militias on U.S. forces operating in Syria.

“We strongly urge you to swiftly investigate and conduct a comprehensive review of Iran Air’s role in supporting Iran and the Assad regime militarily, and hold accountable those found guilty of such activity,” the lawmakers write.

Boeing Reps Meet With Iranian Terror Leader Who Threatened to ‘Destroy’ U.S. Forces

May 2, 2017

Boeing Reps Meet With Iranian Terror Leader Who Threatened to ‘Destroy’ U.S. Forces, Washington Free Beacon, May 1, 2017

The first Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane is pictured during its rollout for media at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington on March 7, 2017. /Photo credit should read JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

Boeing’s efforts to ink multi-billion dollar deals with Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror, has prompted outrage on Capitol Hill and currently is being reviewed by the Trump administration, which will have the final say on whether Boeing is granted licenses to sell new planes to Iran.

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Leaders from Boeing reportedly traveled to Tehran recently to meet and sign a deal with a top former Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) member who threatened to blow up U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, raising new questions about the U.S. aerospace company’s continued efforts to ink multi-billion dollar deals with the Iranian regime.

Representatives from Boeing traveled to Iran last month to meet with Hossein Alaei, CEO of Aseman Airlines, which is owned and controlled by the state. Boeing is moving forward with a $3 billion dollar deal to sell new planes to Aseman despite fierce opposition on Capitol Hill and direct evidence Iran has used commercial aircraft to ferry weapons and fighters across the region.

A photograph from the meeting shows a Boeing representative shaking hands with Alaei, who has been identified by Congress as a “prominent and longtime member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” which is responsible for killing and wounding scores of U.S. troops. The Boeing representative was not named in reports from the Iranian-controlled press or in information provided by U.S. foreign policy insiders.

Alaei, who was a senior figure in the IRGC before being installed as CEO of Aseman Airlines, served as commander of the IRGC Navy until 1990. Alaei oversaw the harassment of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and efforts by the IRGC Navy to plant mines in international waters.

Alaei was quoted during this time as threatening to “destroy” U.S. Navy assets in the region.

“We have drawn up plans whereby we will utilize all our military capability to destroy the U.S. fleet and solve the Persian Gulf issue once and forever,” Alaei was quoted as saying in 1987. “The Americans are here to fight us.”

Photo via @mdubowitz Twitter

Boeing’s efforts to ink multi-billion dollar deals with Iran, the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror, has prompted outrage on Capitol Hill and currently is being reviewed by the Trump administration, which will have the final say on whether Boeing is granted licenses to sell new planes to Iran.

Boeing’s deals with Iran are reported to be worth more than $16 billion.

The aerospace company has lobbied Congress aggressively to back the deal and was a key supporter of the Obama administration’s efforts to forge the landmark nuclear deal with Iran, which provided Tehran with billions in economic relief and cash windfalls.

“According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, an aerospace sale of this magnitude creates or sustains approximately 18,000 jobs in the United States,” Boeing said in a statement carried in Iran’s state-controlled media. “Boeing continues to follow the lead of the U.S. government with regards to working with Iran’s airlines, and any and all contracts with Iran’s airlines are contingent upon U.S. government approval.”

Senior sources on Capitol Hill who are working to stop the deal told the Washington Free Beacon that Boeing’s reported meeting with Alaei crosses the line. Representatives of major U.S. corporations should not be posing for pictures with senior IRGC members who have explicitly committed to killing U.S. soldiers, these sources said.

“If Boeing is trying to convince us they are doing their due diligence, they’re not doing a very good job,” said one senior congressional source working on the matter. “These photos of Boeing executives smiling and glad-handing with a prominent member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are truly sickening. No self-respecting American should shake Hossein Alaei’s hands. They have American blood on them.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) recently petitioned President Donald Trump to shut down these sales, citing Alaei’s role in the IRGC and Iran’s use of commercial planes to facilitate terrorism.

“Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, has systematically used commercial aircraft for illicit military purposes, including to transport troops, weapons, and cash to rogue regimes and terrorist groups around the world,” the lawmakers wrote. “The possibility that U.S.-manufactured aircraft could be used as tools of terror is absolutely unacceptable and should not be condoned by the U.S. government.”

Boeing Trying to Sell Planes to Leading Official of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps

April 12, 2017

Boeing Trying to Sell Planes to Leading Official of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Washington Free Beacon, April 12, 2017

(Please see also, Airplane Sales to Iran Put Under Critical Review By Trump Admin. — DM)

The Boeing logo on the first Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane is pictured during its rollout for media at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington on March 7, 2017. /  JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S airline manufacturer Boeing is coming under renewed criticism following disclosures that its latest deal with Iran is being inked with a senior regime official and leading member of the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has sponsored terrorism across the Middle East and is responsible for helping to kill U.S. soldiers.

Boeing’s latest deal—which the Washington Free Beacon first reported last week has been put under a critical review by the Trump administration—is being inked with Iran Aseman Airlines, which is owned and controlled by the state. The CEO of Aseman Airlines is Hossein Alaei, a “prominent and longtime member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” or IRGC, according to several members of Congress who are petitioning the Trump administration to cancel the sales.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) expressed concern that Boeing’s sale of around 60 new planes to Aseman Airlines will bolster the IRGC’s global terrorism operation and help the Iranian regime transport weapons and troops to conflict areas such as Syria.

The lawmakers called on the Trump administration to immediately suspend licenses permitting these sales and conduct a review of Iran’s effort to use commercial aircraft for illicit activities.

“Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, has systematically used commercial aircraft for illicit military purposes, including to transport troops, weapons, and cash to rogue regimes and terrorist groups around the world,” the lawmakers wrote. “The possibility that U.S.-manufactured aircraft could be used as tools of terror is absolutely unacceptable and should not be condoned by the U.S. government.”

Rubio and Roskam asked the administration to “suspend current and future licenses for aircraft sales to commercial Iranian airlines until your administration conducts a comprehensive review of their role in supporting Iran’s illicit activity.”

Instead of granting Boeing a license for these sales, the United States should take immediate steps to “revoke authorizations and re-impose sanctions on Iranian airlines found guilty of such support, and should bar U.S. companies from selling aircraft to Iran until the Iranian regime ceases using commercial airliners for illicit military purposes,” according to the letter.

The latest information about Boeing’s deal with Aseman Airlines and IRGC leader Alaei has only heightened concerns about the danger of the Trump administration approving the sales.

Alaei served as commander of the IRGC Navy until 1990. During that time, Alaei oversaw the harassment of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and efforts by the IRGC Navy to plant mines in international waters.

Alaei also served as the head of the IRGC’s general staff and a deputy minister of defense before assuming control of Iran’s Aviation Industries Organization, which is currently subject to U.S. sanctions.

Alaei serves as a lecturer at Iran’s Imam Hossein University, the IRGC’s national defense college, which also has been sanctioned by the United States.

“With his deep ties and service to the IRGC, Hossein Alaei’s position as CEO of Aseman therefore casts a dark shadow on the corporate ownership of and control over the airlines, and raises significant concerns that Iran Aseman Airlines is part of the IRGC’s economic empire and a tool used to support its malign activity abroad,” according to Rubio and Roskam.

Boeing also is pursuing deals with Iran Air, the country’s flagship carrier, and Mahan Air. Both have been sanctioned by the United States.

These carriers have been accused of using “commercial aircraft to transport weapons, troops and other tools of war to rogue regimes like the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al Assad, terrorist groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, and militant groups like the Houthi rebels in Yemen,” the lawmakers wrote.

Boeing could bolster Iran’s illicit activities and help the country revamp its aging fleet of planes, according to the lawmakers.

“There is no reason to believe Iran has ceased its malicious activity,” Rubio and Roskam wrote. “Compelling evidence indicates that commercial Iranian airliners remain pivotal in delivering military support to terrorist groups and dictatorships around the Middle East.”

“Iran’s commercial airlines have American blood on their hands,” they wrote.

Airplane Sales to Iran Put Under Critical Review By Trump Admin

April 5, 2017

Airplane Sales to Iran Put Under Critical Review By Trump Admin, Washington Free Beacon, April 5, 2017

A picture taken on August 20, 2010 shows an Iranian flag fluttering at an undisclosed location in the Islamic republic next to a surface-to-surface Qiam-1 (Rising) missile which was test fired a day before Iran was due to launch its Russian-built first nuclear power plant. AFP PHOTO/VAHID REZA ALAEI (Photo credit should read VAHID REZA ALAEI/AFP/Getty Images)

The move represents a departure from the Obama administration’s policy, which promoted the sale of airplanes to Iran across the United States and Europe.

The review of these deals appears to be part of a larger ongoing review of the entire Iran nuclear deal, which is being undertaken by the White House. The Trump administration could move to reverse many of the promises made by the United States to Iran under the previous administration, including airplane sales and other concessions aimed at promoting business in Iran.

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The Trump administration is undertaking a critical review of Obama administration-era policies permitting the sale of American airplanes to Iran, which have been used in the past to ferry weapons to terrorists and conduct other illicit activities, according to U.S. officials familiar with the situation.

U.S. airline manufacturer Boeing announced on Tuesday that it had reached a memorandum of understanding with Iran guaranteeing the sale of up to 60 planes pending review by the Trump administration.

Sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon speculated the latest announcement, which was announced earlier in the day by Iran, could be meant to pressure U.S. officials to sign off on the deal.

While the newly installed administration had come under fire earlier this year for seeming to continue Obama-era policies meant to approve these sales, U.S. officials now tell the Free Beacon that all past and future deals are coming under review by the new administration as part of a larger assessment of the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

The review of sales between Boeing and Iran represent a first step to possibly canceling the deals, which have come under criticism by U.S. lawmakers and foreign policy experts who maintain the Islamic Republic will use the American aircraft to boost its air force and illicit weapons trade, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Free Beacon.

“Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control [OFAC] will be reviewing aviation licensing as part of the National Security Council’s ongoing interagency review of the Iran deal,” a Treasury Department official told the Free Beacon.

The move represents a departure from the Obama administration’s policy, which promoted the sale of airplanes to Iran across the United States and Europe.

The review of these deals appears to be part of a larger ongoing review of the entire Iran nuclear deal, which is being undertaken by the White House. The Trump administration could move to reverse many of the promises made by the United States to Iran under the previous administration, including airplane sales and other concessions aimed at promoting business in Iran.

While the Treasury Department was unable to comment on specific licenses and ongoing determinations pursuant to the Boeing deal, officials pointed out that the latest announcement is not a final deal.

Any sale of planes by Boeing to Iran will be subject to review and require a license from the Treasury Department, officials said.

One senior White House official told the the Free Beacon that the most recent Boeing deal with Iran will be held for review along with the entire Iran nuclear deal.

“The review of existing Iran policy is ongoing–and this MOU will be part of that process,” said the official, who was not authorized to speak on record. “Obviously the administration wants American companies to get large contracts, but we have to put the of the American people first.”

Companies such as Boeing are still legally permitted to negotiate and enter into agreements with Iran as it relates to the sale of airplanes so long as the Iranian entities are not currently subject to U.S. sanctions.

However, the final sale of these planes requires specific consent from the Treasury Department.

The Obama administration had rushed to push through these types of sales before leaving office. President Donald Trump has advocated a tougher line and these sales could be nixed as a result of Iran’s ongoing support for terrorism across the Middle East.

One senior congressional source familiar with the situation told the Free Beacon that the Trump administration’s latest move should serve as a warning to Boeing.

“Treasury is finally committing to a full review of current licensing policies for aircraft sales to Iran,” the source said. “Boeing executives should be on notice: it’s not just this new request that they will need approval on, but the previous one for Iran Air as well.”

Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), a vocal opponent of the Boeing-Iran deal, told the Free Beacon that Boeing’s continued push to deal with Iran is “outrageous.”

“On the same day Bashar al-Assad’s Air Force dropped chemical weapons onto children, an American company announced its intent to sell airplanes to Assad’s patrons in Tehran,” Roskam said late Tuesday. “Iran continues to use commercial aircraft to support Assad’s atrocities in Syria and other terror proxies around the globe.”

Congress will continue its work to prevent the sale of planes to Iran, particularly in light of its ongoing use of civilian aircraft to ferry weapons and other illicit arms across the region.

“We will do everything within our power, and we hope the administration will do everything within its power, to prevent the sale of even more airplanes to state-owned companies in the Islamic Republic,” Roskam said.

Boeing has not backed off its commitment to these sales, despite fierce opposition in Capitol Hill and now in the White House.

One senior congressional adviser who has been working on the matter told the Free Beacon that Boeing’s aggressive lobbying campaign is beginning to backfire.

“Boeing has apparently calculated that their lobbying power can overcome the opposition of majorities in Congress and the American public, to say nothing of the Trump administration’s NSC and Treasury,” said the source, who was not authorized to speak on record.

“Maybe [Boeing is] right—though that’s not the mood on the Hill,” the source explained. “But banks will have to make a different calculation, since they don’t have the protection of the country’s most powerful lobbyists, and the Trump Treasury Department doesn’t fuck around with banks that facilitate Iranian terrorism, which is exactly what it means to give Iran airplanes. The fines would probably be in the billions.”

US Lawmakers Promise Iranian Opposition that there will be Tougher Laws on Iran

January 28, 2017

US Lawmakers Promise Iranian Opposition that there will be Tougher Laws on Iran, Iran News Update, January 28, 2017

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A bipartisan group of US lawmakers have promised the Iranian Opposition that they will press for tougher sanctions on the Iranian Regime. The House members made this pledge to the Organization of Iranian-American Communities (OIAC) on Tuesday. 

The OIAC is allied with the Iranian dissident group Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK)  and advocates for a “democratic, secular and non-nuclear government”, and overthrowing the  “religious dictatorship” in Iran.

Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen called for an expansion of the sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which were not removed during the nuclear deal.

She said: “It is time that we put the tools that we have created to use, broadening our sanctions so that they include IRGC-controlled businesses and subsidiaries. We must target the (Iranian) regime at every turn, not only enforcing the sanctions that have been too long neglected, but expanding their scope whenever and wherever possible.”

The lawmakers also want to stop IRGC-affiliated companies from buying US-made passenger planes, which would likely be used to ship weapons, troops and even money to terrorist cells.

Democratic Congressman Brad Sherman co-sponsored a bill to require the Trump administration to report any signs of Iran using US-made aircraft for “illicit military or other activities” which would violate the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

He said: “We need an ironclad system that makes sure (any newly-acquired planes with American technology) are not used for military or terrorist purposes (by Iran).”

During his campaign, Trump promised to renegotiate the Iranian Nuclear Deal- unlike his Republican opponents, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who promised to “rip up” the deal, on their first day in office- but has not made steps towards it yet.

Sherman also wanted to prevent US banks from loaning Iran any money to pay for new planes.

Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher called for increased political pressure against the Iranian despots, especially to protect the human rights of the people living there.

He said: “One strategy is to help pro-democracy movements who would replace the mullahs. I’m willing to help the Azeris, Baluch and Kurds, who are not part of the Persian majority, to create a situation where you have autonomous regions similar to the states of the United States so that those people’s rights will feel secure as well.”

Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel explained that he wanted to help the Iranian dissidents who were previously exiled to Camp Liberty in Iraq, but have since been safely relocated to Albania.

He noted that they still have not received the money from the sale of their property in Iraq; an estimated $50 million left at Camp Liberty and $500 million at Camp Ashraf. This money is needed to help them make a new life, without handouts.

He said: “As all of their expenses in Albania are paid by MEK, they need their money to be returned as soon as possible. So, I urge Iraq, which the United States has helped for so many years, to honour its commitment to return the money to MEK.”

Sanctioned Iranian Airlines Ferrying Illicit Weapons to Tehran

January 24, 2017

Sanctioned Iranian Airlines Ferrying Illicit Weapons to Tehran, Washington Free Beacon, January 24, 2017

A plane from the Iranian private airline, Mahan Air lands the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 1, 2015. The first direct flight from Iran to the rebel-held Yemeni capital arrived, Sunday, an Airbus 310 carrying Iranians including aid workers from the Iranian Red Crescent as Yemen's Shiite rebels formalize ties with the regional Shiite powerhouse. The rebels, who overran the capital, Sanaa, last September, are widely believed to have support from Iran, a claim they frequently denied. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

A plane from the Iranian private airline, Mahan Air lands the international airport in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, March 1, 2015.  (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Boeing and Airbus should be paying close attention to the situation developing in Ukraine, according to one senior congressional adviser, who told the Free Beacon that the Trump administration would take sanctions enforcement more seriously than the Obama administration. The two airlines could find themselves ensnarled in sanctions violations if they move forward with deals to sell plans to Iran, the source said.

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Two airlines sanctioned by the United States for enabling Iran’s global terrorist operations appear to have played a central role in moving illicit missile components from Ukraine to the Islamic Republic, according to information obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Ukrainian authorities confirmed this week they had seized a shipment of missile system components bound for Iran, which could put the Islamic Republic in violation of international bans prescribed under the nuclear agreement.

Video of the seizure show Ukrainian authorities uncovering 17 boxes of missile parts bound for Iran and meant to be used in its Fagot anti-tank guided missile system.

Sources familiar with the incident told the Free Beacon that the airlines involved in this illicit activity have long been sanctioned by the United States for providing support to Iran’s global terror network. The reversal of longstanding economic sanctions on Iran provided under the nuclear agreement has boosted this activity and strengthened Iran’s illicit weapons pipeline, according to these sources.

Iran’s use of commercial airlines to import weapons has been well documented over the years. This latest incident could complicate efforts by global airplane manufacturers Boeing and Airbus to complete landmark deals with the Islamic Republic that are fiercely opposed by many in Congress.

The Free Beacon disclosed late last year that Iran secretly has been using commercial aircraft to smuggle weapons to terrorists supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country’s bloody civil war. Many of the commercial planes flown by Iran were originally sold by the United States and later repurposed by Iran for use by its Air Force and Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, sources said.

“Iran was caught red-handed trying to import military hardware, including infrared guided anti-tank missiles,” Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), a vocal opponent of Boeing’s efforts to sell new planes to Iran, told the Free Beacon. “This is yet another example of the Islamic Republic using commercial aircraft for military purposes. Airbus and Boeing cannot claim ignorance on this—the Regime’s behavior is on full display before the world.”

The exposure of this illicit network in Ukraine demonstrates that Iran continues to use commercial airlines as cover for its movement of arms and other illicit materials, sources said.

The weapons were found onboard planes operated by Ukraine’s UM Airlines, which officially partners with Iran’s Mahan Air. The United States has sanctioned both carriers for providing support to Iran’s terror network, including the transportation of weapons and resources to the terror group Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy group.

Business between UM and Mahan reached its highest levels following the Iran nuclear agreement, when the Obama administration lifted longstanding economic sanctions on Iran. Removing the sanctions paved the way for the airline partnership and the multi-billion dollar trade deals between Iran, Boeing, and Airbus.

Mahan officially entered the Ukrainian marketplace in 2016 and now partners with UM on daily flights into Tehran.

While the removal of sanctions under the Iran deal helped to legalize business ties possible between the two airlines, they continue to carry out illicit activities, as highlighted by the missile shipment discovered this week.

Experts say there is no way to know how much illegal activity the two carriers have engaged in during their partnership.

“Authorities in Ukraine should be commended for seizing the weapons shipment, but when Ukraine asks the United States for economic and military assistance, the least it could do is not allow airlines, sanctioned for their support of the Assad regime and the IRGC, to operate from their soil,” Boris Zilberman, a regional expert and deputy director of congressional relations at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon.

Boeing and Airbus should be paying close attention to the situation developing in Ukraine, according to one senior congressional adviser, who told the Free Beacon that the Trump administration would take sanctions enforcement more seriously than the Obama administration. The two airlines could find themselves ensnarled in sanctions violations if they move forward with deals to sell plans to Iran, the source said.

“No one is surprised that the Iranians are running weapons literally any way they can. Not even the Obama administration ever claimed that Iran stopped using civilian airlines like Iran Air for military uses,” said the source, who works with Congress on sanctions enforcement issues. “If I was Boeing or Airbus, I’d be worried about a knock on the door from Trump administration sanctions enforcers sooner rather than later.”

A State Department official was not able to provide information as to whether the missile discovery violates international agreements governing the nuclear deal.

“We’ve seen these reports but we do not have any further comment at this time,” the official said.

Emails and phone calls to the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C., seeking comment were not answered.