Let them buy planes
San Francisco Chronicle / Jason Rezaian

Two bits of news about Iran came out on Sunday that are worth mentioning: First, Human Rights Watch announced that Iran is in the midst of a full blown rights crisis. Then later in the day an Iranian airline caught on fire.

While these two events are seemingly unrelated, the fact is that regardless of the current conflict between the US and Iranian governments, it's time to once and for all lift civilian aircraft sanctions, which make it impossible for Iranian airlines to purchase new planes or replacement parts from Western manufacturers.

Fortunately no one on board died, but Iran has had one of the worst air safety records in the world in the past decade, and old planes are the primary problem.

Unfortunately it continues to be the Iranian people who are suffering from the tension between the two states. Removing these sanctions would be a very positive sign to the people of Iran that we care about their fate and it would, furthermore, have very little bearing on the current political situation; the Obama administration couldn't be seen as meddling in Iran affairs. Rather, it would be the kind of humanitarian move Iranians have sought from the US president; in essence a win for everyone.

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