The US House of Representatives has voted to ban the Pentagon from selling leftover spares from its retired Grumman F-14 Tomcat fighter jets to anyone but museums.
If the legislation is passed it will make it harder for Iran to acquire parts for its aging F-14 fleet.
The ban, which was originally a separate measure called the “Stop Arming Iran Act,” was added to a $646 billion bill to fund the US military in the financial year beginning on 1 October.
The US Tomcat F-14
The US Defense Department is conducting a voluntary review of F-14 parts to determine whether it could sell any on the surplus market without jeopardising national security. Iran is the only country known to be trying to keep F-14s flyable.
Lead sponsors of the legislation, Representative Gabrielle Giffords and Senator Ron Wyden, say broad restrictions are needed on the sale of F-14 parts to help prevent sensitive components from accidentally reaching Pentagon surplus auctions, from where Iran would be able to obtain them.
The legislation would only allow US museums and historical groups to buy Tomcat parts, and would prohibit the granting of export licences for any F-14 components.
In January the Associated Press reported that buyers for Iran, China and other countries exploited gaps in Pentagon surplus-sale security to acquire sensitive military equipment including parts for F-14s, other aircraft and missiles.
Law enforcement officials say at least one surplus purchase made it to Iran.
The US sold F-14s to Iran in the 1970s when the countries were on good terms. It retired its Tomcat fleet last year.