Cornyn Introduces Iran Terror-Free Skies Act

Last week, I, along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Sasse (R-NE), and David Perdue (R-GA), introduced the Iran Terror-Free Skies Act, legislation that would counter Iran’s use of commercial aircraft in support of international terrorism and state sponsors of terrorism, or for other illicit military purposes. The companion bill was introduced in the House by U.S. Representatives Peter Roskam (R-IL), Brad Sherman (D-CA), and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) last month. 

Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism threatens the safety of our homeland and our friends around the world. The guise of Iran Air – and the supportive role it plays spreading terror – isn’t fooling anyone, and it’s time to actI’m thankful for Senator Rubio’s leadership on this, and look forward to working with the White House to get it done.

The Iran Terror-Free Skies Act would require the Executive Branch to regularly report to Congress whether Iran Air and other Iranian commercial airlines:

  • Have used civilian aircraft for illicit military purposes, including to transport illicit cargo to or from Iran, such as military goods, weapons, military personnel, military-related electronic parts and mechanical equipment, or rocket or missile components; and
  • Have provided financial, material, or technological support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s armed forces, Syria’s Assad regime, or any foreign terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah, Hamas, and Kata’ib Hezbollah.

If the president determines that Iran Air or other Iranian commercial airlines have engaged in any of these illicit military activities after the Iran nuclear deal’s implementation day of January 16, 2016, the legislation would also require the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to impose new sanctions against these designated Iranian commercial airlines.

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