President-elect Donald Trump was elected based in part on his promise to bring back jobs to America. Millions of Americans are underemployed despite low unemployment rates.
But some of Trump’s potential actions may put American jobs at risk. As part of the Iran nuclear deal, the United States promised to sell the Iranians commercial airliners, and on Sunday, Iran signed another deal to buy 80 jet airliners worth $16.6 billion.
Iran signed a $16.6 billion deal for 80 Boeing (BA.N) passenger jets on Sunday and was said to be close to another for dozens of Airbus (AIR.PA) planes to complete what would be the biggest package of firm contracts with Western companies since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.
The deal between IranAir and U.S. planemaker Boeing includes 50 narrow-body 737 MAX aircraft and 30 long-haul 777s, split equally between the 777-300ER, which is badly in need of an order boost, and the 406-seat 777-9, which is under development.
An Iranian official told Reuters that IranAir was also at the “very final stage” of formalizing a deal with Europe’s Airbus, which led Western companies back into Iran with a provisional agreement for 118 planes when Tehran emerged from global sanctions in January.
The deal is a welcome shot in the arm for Boeing, which has lost market share to its main global rival, Europe’s Airbus. The deal is expected to sustain around 100,000 jobs total in the American aerospace industry.
The Iranians have been desperate to acquire modern passenger airliners to replace their aging civilian aircraft. The Iranian commercial air fleet is currently prone to crashing. The most recent crash in 2014 of an Iranian knockoff of a Soviet-era An-140 jet killed 38 people. Iran has been unable to replace those ancient airplanes due to Western sanctions.
But this new contract could be in jeopardy if Trump decides to take a tougher line on Iran. In March of this year, Trump promised the pro-Israel organization AIPAC that he would dismantle the Iran deal.
“My No. 1 priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran,” Trump said at the time. “This deal is catastrophic for America, for Israel, for the whole of the Middle East.”
Congressional Republicans have also vowed to fight the agreement.
Trump’s advisors, under pressure from America’s European allies, have since backtracked on his pledge. They’re right to do so. The agreement was highly flawed, but it should not be ended. Instead, the Trump administration should review the deal and find ways to strengthen it, as well as bring Iran into full compliance.
Ending the Iran deal would be disastrous because it would allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon sooner rather than later and cost Americans their jobs as economic ties improve between our countries. Keeping the deal is the only way to put “America First.”