Saturday, March 05, 2016

05-Mar-16: For Iran's terror-centric rulers, the plan seems to be working really well

Towards a kinder, gentler Iran [Image Source]
To the people running Iran, this must be such an enjoyable time. One of them, a parliamentarian, was quoted six weeks ago, noting that Iran
needs to expand its operational fleet from 150 to about 500 commercial aircraft over the next five years. The buying spree will end decades of aviation-related sanctions enforcement by Washington, which deliberately shackled the sector over fears that Tehran uses its civilian fleet for military purposes... Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, is expected to agree an order for between 114 and 127 Airbus jets during this week’s state visit to France, where the European manufacturer is based... [and] with aircraft already flying off the shelves in Toulouse, Boeing executives are working tirelessly behind the scenes to schmooze Iranian officials and secure their slice of the pie. [An Iranian official] that Iran will “purchase planes from Boeing and Airbus in equal numbers” — a clear invitation for both companies to sweeten their discounts if they want to tilt the order-book in their favor... ["Quietly Does It: Boeing Keeps A Low Profile In Iranian Aircraft Bonanza", Forbes, January 27, 2016]
Yesterday things moved into higher gear:
Iran has invited U.S. plane maker Boeing to Tehran to discuss purchasing jetliners aimed at revamping its aging fleet hit by decades of sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic, state TV reported on Friday. In February, Iran’s deputy transport minister Asghar Fakhrieh Kashan told Reuters the country was ready to buy at least 100 jets from Boeing... ["Boeing Has Gotten an Invite From Iran to Talk Planes", Reuters, March 4, 2016]
Iranian forces: Considerably less kind and gentle [Image Source]
How can that possibly be bad? Jonathan Tobin, writing in Commentary Magazine today, seems to see what others don't and we fear he's right:
Once Boeing is established as a major partner with the Islamists, it will be that much more difficult for the West or any American government to rip up the deal even if Iran engages in blatant violations. Instead of just apologists for Iran working to oppose the re-imposition of sanctions or retribution for Iran atrocities and terrorism, the Boeing deal will create a new constituency for Iran appeasement that will be difficult to overcome.
Rather than cheering for Boeing, those who see Iran for what it is — a vicious, anti-Semitic tyranny bent on war against Israel and all its foes as well as ultimately the West — we should understand that this new Iran deal is the death knell to accountability and an assurance that Tehran is safe from retribution no matter what it does. ["Why Boeing’s Iran Deal Matters", Commentary Magazine, March 4, 2016]
If it goes through, this will be the first major business deal done by Iran with a US company since the Islamic "Revolution" of 1979. It's the sort of transaction that, as Tobin puts it, "was always the real purpose" of the JCPOA. We said our piece about that ["29-Jul-15: Built not on trust but on... verification"], at a time long before it became more widely noticed that the JCPOA is not and never was intended to be a signed and binding agreement.

(If that sounds surprising, please take a look at what we mean.)

So if it fit the Iranian purpose, who else had that interest? Here's Tobin again:
Iranian forces [Image Source]
Though little noticed at the time, the Iran deal contained a specific provision that the United States would permit “the sale of commercial passenger aircraft and related parts and services to Iran.” ...Congress has not lifted U.S. sanctions on Iran. Thus, while European governments and industries have been conducting a gold rush in Tehran doing their best to get a cut of the massive windfall that the end of international sanctions is creating, Americans are still standing on the sidelines. But by granting Boeing permission to do business with the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, the Obama administration is seeking to create a large exception that will work to unravel resistance to warm relations with Iran... [T]he real point of the effort wasn’t merely to postpone for a decade Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon. That paltry achievement that, even if the Iranians observe the terms of the deal, leaves their nuclear program intact and makes it possible for it to weaponize fairly easily once the deal expires. But the president has all along hoped that engagement intended to allow Iran to “get right with the world” would mean the regime would moderate during this period... ["Why Boeing’s Iran Deal Matters", Commentary Magazine, March 4, 2016]
That fantasy of a self-moderating Iran has surprising appeal in certain quarters. But to believe in it, a person would have to either ignore the following randomly-selected recent developments - or not care about their impact and where they are leading:
  • "100 Iranian prisoners told to prepare for mass execution", March 5, 2016
  • "Iranian Dissident: Idea That Moderates Won Election “Could Not Be Further From the Truth”", March 4, 2016
  • "UNICEF concerned about its former official held in Iran prison", March 4, 2016
  • "Iran denounces labeling Hezbollah as terrorist group", March 4, 2016
  • "This Openly Gay Iranian Author Is Seeking Asylum in Israel", March 4, 2016
  • "Clinton condemns Iran’s cash offer for Palestinian terrorists", February 26, 2016
  • "Iran pledges thousands of dollars for Palestinian terrorists", February 24, 2016
  • "Repressive plans for hijab and virtue implemented for young girls in Iran", February 21, 2016
  • "Iran: We still fund Hamas, because fighting Israel is our policy", February 8, 2016
  • "No, Iran is not ‘opening up’", January 22, 2016
  • "Iran Executed 1,084 People In 2015", January 12, 2016
  • "Nuclear Deal Fuels Iran’s Hard-Liners", January 8, 2016
  • "'A new wave of repression is imminent in Iran'", November 2, 2015
  • "Iran Wins World Record for Most Executions Per Capita", October 27, 2015
  • "Boosted by nuke deal, Iran ups funding to Hezbollah, Hamas", September 21, 2015
  • "Iran's reformists hope regime will temper its harshness", August 3, 2015

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