US green-lights financial aid to quake-hit Iran

    An Iranian child crying after twin quakes shook the country Aug. 11. The U.S. Department of Treasury has allowed U.S. nongovernmental organizations to send money to support charities doing relief work in Iran. Photo by: Globovisión / CC BY-NC

    U.S. nongovernmental organizations can now send money to support charities doing relief work in Iran, but only until Oct. 5.

    The U.S. Department of Treasury issued the authorization Tuesday (Aug. 21), following pressure from NGOs. The government, which has standing sanctions on Iran, has previously allowed donations of food and medicine in response to the devastation brought by the twin quakes that hit the Asian nation’s East Azerbaijan province.

    Under the ruling, each U.S. organization can send up to $300,000, but those that want to send more than the maximum amount “may apply for a specific license,” according to a press release.

    The Treasury strictly forbids sending support to those listed under the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite military force that has “wide economic and commercial interests in Iran.”

    The National Iranian-American Council, which was one of the first to raise the issue, is “pleased” with the announcement, but was concerned U.S. banks may not easily comply with the ruling.

    “US banks have tended to shy away from this, because it’s just not worth it, if they make one mistake they can get a horrific fine,” NIAC President Trita Parsi told BBC.

    Following the quakes, Iran said it is ready to accept foreign aid, but declined the United States’ offer, saying it was not given in “good faith,” ABC quotes Hassan Ghadami, Iran’s deputy interior minister.

    Find projects & tenders in Iran. Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

    About the author

    • Jenny Lei Ravelo

      Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.

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