Doubts Arise Whether White House Will Block Iranian Purchases of Russian Fighter Planes

Although the State Department has said that a proposed arms deal between Russia and Iran would violate a United Nations Security Council ban on weapons transfers to Iran, doubts are emerging whether the Obama administration will actually move to block the deal, the Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday.

Iran announced earlier this week that it plans to buy $8 billion worth of planes, missiles, helicopters, and other weapons from Moscow.

Critics of the administration’s rapprochement with Iran are skeptical that any action will be taken to stop the sale. “The UN resolution to endorse the flawed Iran nuclear deal actually gives the United States and other members of the Security Council the power to review and legally block arms sales by Russia or other actors to Iran,” Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told the Free Beacon. “But as Russia and Iran further escalate their use of indiscriminate military force in the Middle East, the administration appears wholly unwilling to use this power.”

Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, also expressed doubts, saying that if it wanted to the administration “could impose U.S. sanctions on Russian entities involved in these sales. It has done none of these things and likely will not as it continues a disturbing pattern of turning a blind eye to Iranian violations of international and U.S. law.”

Government sources told the Free Beacon after the initial publication of its article the article that the administration would be “more forceful in raising concerns about these sales, particularly the transfer of advanced war jets.”

In addition to frustration over the administration’s failure to confront Iranian aggression in Syria, concerns have grown that the U.S. stopped enforcing existing sanctions on Iran after the nuclear deal was signed last year. The Obama administration has failed to take any action against Mahan Air for its ongoing sanctions violations, including transporting troops and weapons to Syria. It also did nothing to penalize Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who traveled to Moscow last year — reportedly to plan the joint Iranian-Russian defense of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad — despite being subject to an international travel ban.

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