J Street Calls on Members of Congress to Oppose Anti-JCPOA Bill Restricting Commercial Aircraft Sales

November 16, 2016

Since the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran has shipped approximately 97% of its enriched uranium stockpile out of its territory, removed more than two-thirds of its installed centrifuges and placed them in internationally-monitored storage, stopped all enrichment of uranium at the underground Fordow facility, and has removed the core of the Arak heavy-water reactor and filled it with cement, terminating each of its pathways to a nuclear weapon. The JCPOA has also imposed an intrusive inspections and monitoring regime to verify Iran’s continued compliance.

Iran has thus far met its obligations under the JCPOA, but its ongoing adherence to the terms of the deal is contingent on the P5+1 nations upholding their end of the deal as well. In addition to a number of sanctions-lifting measures, the JCPOA explicitly allows for Iran to purchase aircraft for commercial purposes as an incentive for dismantling its nuclear weapons program.

H.R.5711, if enacted, would effectively prevent the sale of American commercial aircraft to Iran by preventing American financial institutions from engaging in transactions required to complete those sales. Because the permission of the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran is a key element of the JCPOA, this bill will be seen as a prima facie violation of the agreement, and will threaten the stability of an accord that has thus far lengthened Iran’s nuclear breakout period to one year and put its nuclear program under a microscope.

Additionally, the bill would not even achieve its intended objective of preventing Iran from acquiring commercial aircraft – it would merely ensure that Iran purchases them from a foreign producer, pointlessly denying jobs and income to working Americans and communities across the country. Like so many of the legislative attempts by JCPOA opponents to undermine or kill the agreement, this bill is just another cynical messaging exercise that hurts rather than helps America’s essential interests, security and standing in the world.

J Street therefore urges Members of Congress to oppose H.R.5711 and reaffirm the United States’ commitment to uphold its international obligations.