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US Announces Ways To Provide Help For Quake Victims In Iran


A woman mourns at an earthquake site in Sarpol-e-Zahab in western Iran, November 14, 2017

U.S. Department of the Treasury officially highlighted on Tuesday, November 14, the ways in which Americans can provide humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people.

“In light of the tragic earthquake in Iran, we would like to highlight some of the ways in which Americans can provide humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people, consistent with the Iran-related sanctions administered by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)” U.S. Virtual Embassy Iran cited OFAC as saying.

General License E (GL E), issued by OFAC in 2013, authorizes nongovernmental organizations to export services to Iran in support of the provision of relief services related to natural disasters, the provision of donated health-related services, and the distribution of donated articles (such as food, clothing, and medicine) intended to be used to relieve human suffering in Iran” U.S. Virtual Embassy Iran reported.

Furthermore, according to OFAC’s statement, “In addition, GL E authorizes transfers of up to $500,000 per 12-month period in support of these activities, subject to certain conditions”.

However, OFAC has noted, “Donations of food, clothing, and medicine, when intended to be used to relieve human suffering, are exempt from the sanctions on trade between the United States and Iran, as long as the donations are not being sent to the Government of Iran or any Iranian individual or entity on the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List)”.

Finally, OFAC states, “Subject to certain requirements, OFAC authorizes U.S. financial institutions to process noncommercial, personal remittances to Iran, which may include a personal transfer of funds from the United States to Iran to assist a friend or family member.

Further information on Iran-related sanctions administered by OFAC, including specific guidance and FAQs, can be found here: https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/pages/iran.aspx.”

The preliminary magnitude 7.3 quake, with its epicenter located about 19 miles south of Halabjah, Iraq, recorded at 9:18 p.m. (local time GMT+3:30) on Sunday, was felt as far away as Turkey and Pakistan.

The earthquake has been described as the world’s largest in current year.

In a statement on Monday, US State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, “The United States expresses its sincere condolences to all of those affected by the earthquake in Iran and Iraq.”

“We keep the families of those who were killed, and injured, in our thoughts as well as the communities that have suffered damage to homes and property,” she added.

Earlier, in late August Iran had voiced solidarity with the storm-stricken Americans as well as the families of the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and claimed over forty lives.

U.S. severed its diplomatic relations with Iran after 52 of its embassy staff were taken hostage in 1979 in Tehran.

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