Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Post #313 - Aid to Earthquake Victims

This is the official State Department clarification on what Americans are permitted to do to assist victims of the recent earthquake in northwest Iran:

Clarifying Guidance on Humanitarian Assistance to Iran

The American people send the Iranian people our deepest condolences for the loss of life in the tragic earthquake in northwestern Iran. Our thoughts are with the families of those who were lost, and we wish the wounded a speedy recovery. We stand ready to offer assistance in this difficult time. In light of this tragedy, we would like to highlight the ways Americans can provide humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people:

• Donations of food and medicine, when intended to be used to relieve human suffering, are exempt from the sanctions on trade between the U.S. and Iran, as long as the donations are not being sent to the Government of Iran or any Iranian individual or entity on the Treasury Department’s List of Specially Designated 

Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List). For all practical purposes, such donations to the Iranian people, including transactions needed to ship permissible donations, can occur without a license from the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

• OFAC generally regards the exportation or re-exportation of medical devices to Iran, whether donated or for sale, to require a license under the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (TSRA). 

• Since 1995, OFAC has permitted U.S. financial institutions to process noncommercial, personal remittances to Iran. Such transactions, which may include a personal transfer of funds from the U.S. to Iran to assist a friend or family member, may originate from a U.S. financial institution but must be processed through a third-country financial institution before reaching Iran. [additional clarification is provided on OFAC’s FAQ page.]

• If a donation is not a personal remittance, charitable donations of funds to Iran require a specific license from OFAC. Individuals or groups can apply for a specific license for this purpose, and OFAC will give high priority to processing the license application. [Instructions on applying for a specific license from OFAC may be found on OFAC’s FAQ page.]

• Nongovernmental organizations wishing to engage in earthquake relief efforts in Iran can apply for a specific license for this purpose. OFAC will give high priority to processing such license applications. [Instructions on applying for a specific license from OFAC may be found on OFAC’s FAQ page.]

For further detailed information or guidance contact the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Hotline at 800-540-6322 or 202-622-2490.

Date: August 14, 2012

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