Gov't Hopes To Cut Off Iranian Procurement
Acting on pressure from Congress to take more drastic action to
keep leftover F-14 Tomcat parts from falling into enemy hands, on
Monday President Bush signed legislation prohibiting the Pentagon
from auctioning off those parts.
As ANN reported last year, in
January 2007 the Defense Department announced it was suspending the
sale of all F-14 parts while the Pentagon reviewed its own security
measures. The investigation came after reports surfaced Iran -- the
only country still operating F-14s, and now openly hostile to the
US -- was able to procure spare parts originally sold through
Pentagon surplus auctions.
Despite that ban, an investigation by Government Accountability
Office revealed DoD still allowed some 1,400 parts that could be
used in the Tomcats -- still in service in Iran -- to be sold in
February, though it's not clear whether any of those parts actually
made it to the Islamic state.
Iran bought the Tomcats in the 1970s, when the country was a US
ally under the Shah's rule. Diplomatic relations fell apart after
the Shah's 1979 overthrow, and subsequent hostage crisis. In 2002,
Bush proclaimed Iran part of an "axis of evil."
There is evidence other countries, including China, also
procured spare parts through the auctions. The legislation signed
by the President was first proposed by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden,
and Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords; two separate versions
of the bill were approved by House lawmakers in June of
The Associated Press reports Tomcats aren't the only aircraft
Iran is interested in; at least once, spare parts for Chinook
twin-rotor helicopters -- also sold through Pentagon auctions --
also made it to Iran, according to law enforcement officials.
While few would complain against stopping the flow of parts to
supply a proclaimed hostile regime, museums and historical groups
hoping to display -- and even fly -- F-14s feared the ban would
also cut off needed parts for their planes, as well. The bill
signed Monday allows for US museums to buy F-14s, or parts for
them... but nothing deemed militarily sensitive. The jets must also
be rendered useless for military purposes.