U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, questioned witnesses on Iran's use of commercial aircraft to support terrorism during a Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee hearing entitled “The Implications of U.S. Aircraft Sales to Iran.”
“I’m going to the June 2011 Treasury designation of Iran Air, that it was ‘used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s Ministry of Defense… to transport military related equipment…Iran Air has shipped military-related equipment on behalf of the IRGC since 2006, and in 2008, Iran Air shipped aircraft-related raw materials to a Ministry of Defense-associated company, including titanium sheets, which have dual-use military applications and can be used in support of advanced weapons programs.’ It further stated that ‘rockets or missiles have been transported via Iran Air passenger aircraft.’ Mr. Dubowitz, from what you know, has Iran Air continued in its process of engagement here in prohibited activities related to Iran’s support for terrorism to include the transport of conventional weapons and ballistic missiles within the last two years?” asked Chairman Royce.
“Chairman Royce, just last month, three Iran Air flights went from the IRGC’s resupply base in Iran to Damascus. That illicit activity continues,” replied Mr. Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“In terms of the question has Iran provided weapons to the Syrian Government using Iran Air, I take it the answer is probably…," asked Chairman Royce.
“It appears to be so, unless they’re ferrying civilians on sightseeing tours from a resupply base for the IRGC," replied Dubowitz.
“So has Iran Air engaged in activities within the last 2 years in support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps?” continued Chairman Royce.
“Yes,” stated Dubowitz.
"Despite these clearly terrorism-related designations, the Administration removed sanctions on Iran as part of the nuclear deal as we all know. In addition, Iran Air has not been designated as being owned or controlled by the Government of Iran, despite the fact that we have seen little evidence that Iran Air has either been privatized or changed its ownership structure. Mr. Lorber or Mr. Dubowitz, what is Iran Air’s ownership structure? Is it still owned or controlled by the Government of Iran? Are any members of the IRGC, Specially Designated Nationals, “shadow” SDNs, or other politically exposed persons in any of the senior management positions?” questioned Chairman Royce.
“Iran Air is still used by the Revolutionary Guards. Iran Air was designated in 2011 because it was being used by the Revolutionary Guards. There is every evidence that it continues to be used by the Revolutionary Guards. There is no reason it was delisted since that was not part of a nuclear agreement. And there is no reason why it should remain unlisted. There are four other airlines being used by the Revolutionary Guards that remain sanctioned. We have no ability to stop Iran Air from transferring, leasing, or reselling those aircraft to four other Revolutionary Guard airlines,” said Dubowitz.
“There is a provision of secondary sanctions regulations which are still in force that prohibit foreign companies from doing business not just with Iran Air but also with agents and affiliates of the IRGC. So if Iran Air is transporting goods on behalf of the IRGC, it is an agent or affiliate and therefore entities doing business with it are also subject to U.S. secondary sanctions,” added Mr. Eric Lorber, Senior Associate at the Financial Integrity Network.
“Mr. Dubowitz, when was that last flight you referenced… into Damascus,” asked Chairman Royce.
“June the 9th, one month ago,” concluded Dubowitz.
Watch Chairman Royce's questioning here or by clicking the image below.