October 01, 2007

Wyden Provision Blocking Sale of F-14 Parts to Iran Passes Senate

Wyden's "Stop Arming Iran Act" Included in Defense Authorization Bill

Washington, D.C. - Working to stop the sale of surplus aircraft parts to Iran, the U.S. Senate today passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which included a provision based on the "Stop Arming Iran Act" introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). The provision will prohibit the Pentagon from selling surplus parts and equipment for F-14 fighter aircraft. Iran is the only country—other than the United States—that flies F-14s.

"This provision will keep crucial aircraft parts out of the hands of a state sponsor of terrorism," Wyden said. "Recent investigations reveal weak enforcement of the Pentagon's own regulations limiting the sale of spare parts. An outright legal ban is the only way to be sure they're not inadvertently arming Iran."

Iran originally purchased seventy-nine of the fighter jets from U.S. manufacturers before its 1979 revolution. Today the planes are largely grounded due to lack of parts. U.S. customs agents, however, have discovered that F-14 parts are being shipped to Iran after being purchased at Department of Defense (DoD) auctions.

DoD restricts the sale of surplus F-14 parts; however, these rules have proven ineffective at stopping Iran's acquisition of the equipment. For example, companies buying the parts from DoD have later been proven fronts for the Iranian government. In addition, DoD has sold sensitive technology—including F-14 parts—to undercover GAO investigators.

The "Stop Arming Iran Act" was also introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and was passed as an amendment to the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008.