“Iran Air flying Abadan to Damascus. Less than 6 months after JCPOA implementation, Iran Air running #SyriaExpress” — From Emanuele Ottolenghi’s Twitter

As the U.S. Treasury considers lifting barriers to Iran’s purchase of Boeing and Airbus passenger aircraft, concerned Capitol Hill lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle are working to restrict the sale. My FDD colleague Emanuele Ottolenghi writes in his last contribution to The Hill that Iran Air, which purportedly would receive a number of the new aircraft, is essentially “an accomplice to mass murder in Syria” because it ferries troops and equipment to the war-torn country.

The questions raised about the sale of Boeing of Airbus airliners to Iran are legitimate. Iran continues to fuel skepticism about its…


My Testimony for the House Financial Services Committee

Introduction:

This summer marked the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). This deal is fatally flawed in that it provides the Islamic Republic of Iran with a patient pathway to nuclear weapons capability by placing limited, temporary, and reversible constraints on Iran’s nuclear activities. These nuclear “sunset provisions,” which will begin to expire in seven years and mostly disappear over a period of ten to fifteen years, leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power with an industrial-size uranium enrichment and plutonium program, near-zero nuclear breakout capacity, an advanced centrifuge-powered clandestine sneakout capability, advanced…


Emboldened Iran and Diminished American Deterrence

Executive Summary

As we mark the one-year anniversary of the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), it is worth recalling why this deal is fatally flawed. The JCPOA provides Iran with a patient pathway to nuclear weapons capability by placing limited, temporary, and reversible constraints on Iran’s nuclear activities. These nuclear “sunset provisions,” which begin to expire in eight years and mostly disappear over a period of ten to fifteen years, leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power with an industrial-size, uranium enrichment and plutonium program; near-zero nuclear breakout capacity; an advanced centrifuge-powered clandestine sneakout capability; advanced ballistic missile…


(Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

By Mark Dubowitz and Annie Fixler

The Islamic Republic of Iran is energetically trying to legitimize its financial sector despite a decades-long rap sheet of illicit financial activities. Since the conclusion of the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the White House has missed numerous opportunities to issue sanctions against Iran’s ongoing illicit activity. Instead, in an effort to keep Iran committed to abiding by the nuclear deal, the administration is now acting as Tehran’s chamber of commerce.

Washington’s bipartisan effort to hold the mullahs accountable for their awful non-nuclear behaviour — their support to…


Bankers should beware of getting too close, too quickly, to a country with a long rap sheet of financial crimes.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the intergovernmental organization that sets global standards to combat money laundering and finance for terrorism and proliferation, had a clear message for financial institutions last week when it declined to remove the Islamic Republic of Iran from its high-risk blacklist: Iran may say it’s open for business but it’s not yet safe to do it.

FATF’s directive was a clear rejection of the Islamic Republic’s lobbying campaign to legitimize itself as a responsible financial actor: “Until Iran implements the measures required to address the deficiencies identified in the Action Plan, the FATF will remain…


Implications of FATF’s Decision

Following its plenary meeting this week, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is set to maintain Iran on its black list, with a one-year suspension, though not removal, of the mandatory countermeasures applied to the Islamic Republic.

FATF is an inter-governmental organization that serves as the preeminent global policymaking body for combating illicit finance. It does that primarily by setting global standards to combat money laundering, and finance for terrorism and proliferation. …


Boeing could find itself unwittingly supporting the Assad Regime and Hezbollah

Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has struck an historic deal with the Iranian Regime. In a multi-billion dollar transaction Boeing has agreed to sell 100 commercial airliners to Iran — more specifically Iran Air. However, as my colleague (and longtime watchdog of Iranian aviation) Emanuele Ottolenghi warns, Iran Air may be engaging in airlifting weapons and fighters to Syria, a practice that forced the U.S. Treasury to sanction the airline in 2011.

Additionally, Ottolenghi reports that Iran Air is unlikely to retain all of the aircraft it purchases. Some of Boeing’s aircraft may end up in the hands of Mahan Air, an…


Majid Saeedi/Getty Images

By: Mark Dubowitz and Annie Fixler

Iran’s demands are escalating. The supreme leader is sounding the alarm about American mendacity. An anxious U.S. secretary of state is practically begging companies to return to Iran. Cautious banking executives and a distrustful and angry Congress are pushing back. Welcome to the fallout from the nuclear deal, which merely signaled the beginning of negotiations with the Islamic Republic.

Last summer’s Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was objectively a very good deal for Tehran: It preserved essential elements of the country’s nuclear infrastructure and placed only temporary, limited restrictions on its nuclear ambitions, which…


Forward — by Mark Dubowitz and Annie Fixler

In recent weeks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been on an international “road show” to encourage large European banks to return to business with Iran and to help alleviate their concerns about the legal risks associated with engaging with a country still under U.S. sanctions for money laundering, terrorism, missile proliferation, and human rights abuses. These banks also are concerned about the extensive level of non-performing assets and about financial transactions involving the still-sanctioned Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is dominant in the most lucrative sectors of Iran’s economy through its control of thousands of front companies.

Meanwhile…


President Obama did well to address the nation yesterday following the shooting at Pulse night club in Orlando. Omar Mir Seddique Mateen murdered 49 people and injured more than 50 others. The president, unfortunately, had not come to a conclusion yet on the “precise motives of the killer,” but he did classify Omar Mateen as “a man filled with hatred.”

In fact, during President Obama’s five-and-a-half minute address, he never once mentioned ‘radical’ ‘extremist’ ‘Islamic’ or any other tangential references– despite the fact that the killer pledged his allegiance to ISIS in his 9–1–1 call to police. …

Mark Dubowitz

Executive Director, Foundation for Defense of Democracies | FDD’s Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance | Expert on Iran and Sanctions

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