Pictures have emerged of troops headed to Syria to fight in support of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in planes marked with the insignia of Iran Air, Iran’s national airline.
The pictures, Emanuele Ottolenghi wrote in an op-ed Tuesday in The Hill, present a challenge for President Donald Trump. The images show that Iran, by ferrying troops to fight on behalf of Assad, is violating United Nation Security Council resolution 2231, which implemented the nuclear deal, and prohibits Iran from transferring weapons to other nations or provide services that involve the use of arms.
After violating this term of resolution 2231, Trump, Ottolenghi explained, will have to consider whether to certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear deal. The Corker-Cardin legislation mandates that to certify compliance, the Islamic Republic must be “transparently, verifiably, and fully implementing the agreement, including all related technical or additional agreements.”
— Emanuele Ottolenghi (@eottolenghi) August 8, 2017
In addition, Ottolenghi wrote, because Iran violated international law by using a civilian airline to ferry troops to war, the United States should again sanction Iran Air, initially removed from the sanctions list as part of the deal. Doing so could be politically difficult because major plane manufacturers Boeing and Airbus have multi-billion dollar deals in place to sell planes to Iran. The administration recently sanctioned a lesser-known company for supporting Iran’s illicit ballistic missile program. This was easier than undercutting a major sale by “a U.S. blue chip company [Boeing] from whose executive ranks the president is drawing some of his appointees.”
Earlier this month, Iran claimed that newly imposed U.S. sanctions on a company involved in its ballistic missile program violated the nuclear deal. However, Ottolenghi wrote that the nuclear deal “only prohibits new sanctions on the Iranian nuclear enterprise.” He added, “Iran Air richly deserves to be sanctioned, because in addition to being a national carrier engaged in commercial flights, the airline has helped Iran’s Revolutionary Guards throw a lifeline to the regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria and Iran’s terror proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah.”