In 2003, following the earthquake in Bam, the Bush Administration issued a general license [for a limited time] to enable relief organizations to provide services in Iran. NIAC strongly supports a similar and hopefully more robust effort by the Obama Administration today. The Obama Administration should take all steps necessary to ensure that relief efforts are not obstructed due to the dispute between the U.S. and Iranian governments.
|The Bam Citadel, largely destroyed in the earthquake.|
|Earthquake victims numbered in the thousands.|
Under current U.S. sanctions it is legal to donate food and medicine directly to Iran under an existing humanitarian exemption. Efforts to send these goods have been obstructed due to confusion about the law and over enforcement of the sanctions. Banks, drug companies, and reportedly even the U.S. Postal Service have been unwilling to facilitate and send such items. However, in our discussions with Treasury it has been made explicit that such transactions are indeed legal and we are urging Treasury to take additional steps necessary to ensure private and public entities are not blocking legal transactions.
Further information regarding how relief efforts can be supported, how direct relief can be sent to Iran, and what steps the U.S. Government is taking in this regard will be made available as soon as possible.