To the Editor:

Iran’s Aging Airliner Fleet Seen as Faltering Under U.S. Sanctions” (news article, July 14) does not mention two critical facts.

First, Iran Air is not simply a passenger airline. Rather, Iran Air provides material support to two organizations deeply involved in Iran’s weapons proliferation — the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, which oversees Iran’s ballistic missile program, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, which orchestrates arms shipments to and from Iran. That is why, in June 2011, we imposed sanctions specifically on Iran Air.

Second, because we care about civilian flight safety, we have issued licenses to allow for the inspection, and in previous years also the repair, of Iran’s civilian aircraft, so long as those services were performed outside Iran so the parts and services could not be misdirected to Iran’s military aircraft. To our knowledge, the Iranian government, which controls Iran Air, never took advantage of these licenses.

Under Secretary
Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
Department of the Treasury
Washington, July 15, 2012