Ever since Hassan Rouhani became president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, U.S. President Barack Obama has told Americans that a fundamental change had occurred and Iran’s regime had been transformed into a moderate one.
Is this true? Iran’s ballistic missile testing, sponsorship of terrorism and vast system of domestic repression all constitute a grave threat to international peace and security.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is as powerful and dangerous as ever, supporting terrorism and subversion across the Middle East, and continuing to plot the destruction of Israel.
It controls about a third of Iran’s economy, including all the strategic sectors in which international businesses are interested. As for Rouhani, he has described Israel as the “main source of violence and extremism” in the Middle East.
Yet now we’ve learned that an American aircraft manufacturer has signed a major deal with Iran. The Boeing Company in June announced that Iran Air, the national airline, intends to buy 80 passenger planes and lease 29 of the company’s 737s, for some $25 billion.
Last October’s international nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, rescinded or eased many of the sanctions on Tehran.
The U.S. Treasury Department has already granted permission for such sales by U.S. corporations, and the terms of the Iran deal allow American banks to finance them.
But Iran Air does more than fly commercial passenger routes. It is accused of carrying weapons and supplies for the Syrian regime and so is complicit in Iran’s support for atrocities and war crimes in Syria and for Hezbollah’s terror activities.
It now turns out that a paid consultant for Boeing advocated for the Iran nuclear deal without revealing his ties to the aircraft maker and its vested interest in the deal’s success.
Thomas Pickering, a prominent former senior State Department official and ambassador to India, Israel, and Russia, was one of the most persistent advocates for sanctions relief, lobbying before Congress and elsewhere.
As historian Edwin Black documented in his book, “IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation”, published in 2001, IBM facilitated the identification and roundup of millions of Jews during the 12 years of Hitler’s Third Reich.
IBM technology was used to organize nearly everything in Nazi Germany, from the identification of Jews in censuses, to the running of railroads and organizing of concentration camp slave labour.
General Motors helped in the rapid motorization of the German military, while the Ford Motor Company, headed by Henry Ford, a notorious anti-Semite, provided not just material help but political inspiration.
Ford’s newspaper the Dearborn Independent in the early 1920s had serialized the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which purported to describe an international Jewish conspiracy for global domination. Hitler called Ford “my inspiration.”
Journalist Max Wallace’s 2003 book The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of the Third Reich revealed the company’s military and political complicity in the Third Reich’s war effort.
Ford’s German subsidiary, Fordwerke, used slave labourers at its Cologne plant between 1941 and 1945. Included were prisoners of war from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but also from France and Italy.
A post-war U.S. Army investigation concluded that the company had become “an arsenal of Nazism, at least for military vehicles.”
The Nazi military was also driving trucks manufactured by Opel, a GM-owned subsidiary, and flying Opel-built warplanes. Opel became the largest producer of trucks for the German army.
In 1935, GM built a new plant near Berlin to produce the Blitz truck, which would later be used by the German army for its attacks on Poland, France and the Soviet Union., according to U.S. Army reports.
Will Boeing join this rogue’s gallery for its dealings with Iran?
Henry Srebrnik is a professor of political science at the University of Prince Edward Island.