A member of Tehran’s Chamber of Commerce has told local media that a few American drug companies have obtained permission from the U.S. government to export medicines to Iran.
ILNA news website in Tehran quotes Alireza Kolahi as saying that the drug companies have also proposed the names of several Iranian banks as payment channels and the U.S. government has approved two banks.
However, he added that if the Iranian side does not ratify anti-money-laundering legislation, these banks will not be able to act as payment channels.
Iran has been delaying the final ratification of laws passed by its parliament that would increase financial transparency, demanded by international watchdog, the Financial Action Task Force. Currently, Iran’s banks are on a watch list and their international transactions are extremely limited.
So far, no U.S. or independent sources have confirmed the Iranian report, but last week the U.S. Ambassador in Switzerland Edward McMullen announced that an agreement has been reached with Swiss authorities to allow medicines and food to be sent to Iran through “a humanitarian channel”.
U.S. authorities have always insisted that medicines and humanitarian aid are exempt from its sanctions, however due to banking sanctions it was practically impossible for Iran to enter into transactions with foreign entities.
U.S. sanctions have affected the availability of medicines and medical supplies in Iran. However, Washington and Tehran agreed to a prisoner swap recently, which could signal some willingness to reduce tensions.