The media picked up on a true dilemma facing Trump and the entire western world. The dilemma between money and ideology. In the context of the aircraft deals with Iran, foreignpolicy describes the fact that the Boeing deal with Iran forces Trump to decide between two campaign promises – on the one hand the pledge to boost American manufacturing jobs and protect American employment, and on the other hand the call to isolate Iran for its negative regional and domestic conduct.
Some have tried to connect the deals to the nuclear accord (JCPOA) – allegedly claiming that if the nuclear accords are intact then the financial aviation deals must be upheld. This is of course a false equation, as the reason for blocking the aircraft deals are connected to Iran’s behavior in general. Foreignpolicy has connected this issue to “big issues” like US aviation dominance and future aviation sales. But there are other big issues involved, like Iran using commercial flights to smuggle arms and ammunition, Iran’s regional destabilizing activity, support of terrorism and oppression of human rights. Despite evidence that Iran uses commercial flights to smuggle arms and ammunition, strong lobbies are still fighting to upkeep the aircraft deals. Despite the fact that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved sweeping sanctions against Iran, calling to hold Iran accountable for its continued support of terrorism and human rights violations (see nytimes and US Senate Committee press release), the White House has declined to comment on the Boeing deal matter.
It is interesting to analyze who prefers business over ideology. The handelsblatt observes that the European plane-makers oppose any scrapping of the Airbus and Boeing deals due to the expected financial losses.
While the US treasury announced that they were reviewing licenses for Boeing and Airbus to sell aircraft to Iran, the French Foreign Minister rushed to Iran to re-affirm EU and French commitment to deals signed, with the outdated and refuted justification that “developing commercial ties strengthens the moderates in Iran”. Totally ignoring the many reports that Rouhani is not such a moderate (see for instance the weeklystandard piece titled “misreporting Iran” and the telegraph article titled “if you think a moderate has won in Iran – think again), and that there is no proof that the deal has strengthened the moderates or even decreased Iran’s radical activity. In fact, many reports have indicated the opposite – that Iran has increased its destabilizing behavior due to the influx of cash as a result of the deal (see for instance voanews titled “indications Iran doubling down on use of proxy forces” and foreignpolicy titled “Iran ramping up proxy wars”).
It is certainly worth following up and analyzing who gives priority to business and pleasure over values and ideology.