Measure Awaiting Senate Approval
Just in case the message didn't come through the first time,
this week the US House of Representatives voted a second time to
ban the sale of surplus parts off the Pentagon's recently retired
fleet of F-14 Tomcats.
As ANN reported last month,
the House first approved the "Stop Arming Iran Act" as a rider
attached to military funding legislation. Apparently not content
with letting that be, the House again voiced its approval of the
measure -- this time, as a freestanding bill, H.R. 1441 -- on
If that sounds a bit like governmental overkill... well, yeah,
it does to us, too. But the importance of cutting off a possible
source of parts for Iran, as that country aims to keep its
1970s-vintage Tomcats flying, justifies the redundancy, lawmakers
said this week.
"We cannot take the risk that parts unique to the F-14 could be
made available to Iran," said Arizona Representative Gabrielle
Giffords, co-sponsor of the bill with Oregon Senator Ron Wyden. By
prohibiting the sale of spare F-14 parts to any entity other than
US museums, Giffords said her bill would "put an end to military
surplus sales that may inadvertently be helping to sustain Iran's
John Boozman called the bill "an appropriate and timely measure" to
add to other protections in place to keep surplus parts out of the
hands of countries hostile to the United States.
At least once, Iran was able to procure parts sold through a
Defense Department auction, law enforcement officials told The
Associated Press. The Islamic republic -- the only country still
flying F-14s in its military -- is one of the countries named by
President George W. Bush in 2002 as part of an "axis of evil."
Earlier this year, the Department of Defense suspended the sale
of surplus F-14 parts -- as well as parts from other aircraft, that
could be used on Tomcats -- while it conducted a voluntary review
of its procedures.
The bill is expected to win approval in the Senate, after which
time it would be sent to the President for approval. The White
House has not commented on whether President Bush would sign the
bill... although given the thorny relationship between the two
countries, it's difficult to see him vetoing it.
Incidentally, the second House vote Monday came as Iran suddenly
called off talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency, on
the state of its nuclear program.