Lawyers Pressure Boeing to Reveal Details of Its Deal with Iran Air

10/12/2017 8:45:27 PM

File; Illustrative photo of an Iran Air Boeing 747 passenger plane.

File; Illustrative photo of an Iran Air Boeing 747 passenger plane.

And Republican lawmakers are urging Trump to tell the court to honor the plaintiff's request.
The Weekly Standard, October 12, 2017
- Lawyers want Boeing to reveal the secret details of its multibillion dollar deal with Iran Air to an Illinois federal court, a disclosure that hinges on the approval of the Trump administration.

The Chicago-based company’s controversial deal to sell 80 commercial jets to Iran Air is permitted under the 2015 nuclear deal. But Tehran simultaneously owes billions in damages to American victims of terrorism—and lawyers for some of those terror victims are looking to the Boeing deal as a starting point for compensation.

“We’re trying to get from Boeing information about the actual deal–the deal documents,” said Robert J. Tolchin, an attorney for the Leibovitch family. “We have a judgment against Iran, and we are interested in trying to find any which way to enforce that judgment. “

The Leibovitch family, whose child was killed and a second child maimed in a 2003 Iran-backed terrorist attack, has an outstanding multimillion-dollar judgment against Iran. Information about the Boeing deal could be used to identify Iranian assets in the U.S., which could then be used to compensate terror victims. But Boeing has said that releasing details of the deal would 'undermine U.S. national security by disrupting commercial aircraft sales to Iran,' according to lawmakers.

Tolchin said that Boeing is intentionally trying to assist Iran in evading the outstanding judgments.

“They’ve devised a gimmick to avoid judgments by delivering the planes in a way and having Iran pay for them in a way designed to stay beyond the reach of U.S. courts,” he said. “The country’s largest defense contractor is conspiring with the largest murderer of Americans to avoid paying [terror victims] the compensation that American courts found that they’re entitled to receive.'

To resolve the impasse, a judge asked the Trump administration to tell the court by Oct. 12 whether it believes sharing information associated with the deal would undermine U.S. national security.

Republican lawmakers are calling on the Trump administration to respond in favor of Boeing disclosing those details to the court.

“We encourage the Justice Department to clarify for the court both the terms of the [nuclear deal] as well as the national security interest we have in Iran compensating the victims in the Leibovitch case and other similar cases,” Illinois congressman Peter Roskam and Arkansas senator Tom Cotton wrote last week in a letter to the Justice Department.

'Allowing disclosure of the Boeing information in this case may permit Iran’s assets to be attached for purposes of enforcing the Leibovitch ruling,' they continued. 'That would impose a consequence on Iran for its nefarious activities and add to U.S. efforts to deter such activities.'

Toby Dershowitz, senior vice president at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, agreed that Boeing “should be required to operate under full sunlight.”

“Besides it being the law to have all documents related to the [nuclear deal] be disclosed to Congress, there are valuable lessons to be learned following the backroom side deals and ransom demands associated with the nuclear deal,” said Dershowitz. “Chief among them is the importance of full public scrutiny of Boeing’s contracts with Iran Air and other Iranian airlines.”

The deal between Boeing and Iran Air has drawn sharp criticism from lawmakers, who are concerned that the Iranian airline, which was sanctioned in 2011 for helping Iran's military ferry weapons to the Syrian regime among other activities, has not stopped its illicit pursuits.

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