By Julia Murray, NIAC
Washington, DC -- On Monday the Iranian American Bar Association (IABA) released tips and guidelines for the "provision of humanitarian assistance to and in Iran." The IABA publication addresses current regulations as stipulated by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). OFAC falls under the oversight of the US Department of the Treasury, and is responsible for enforcing economic and trade sanctions.
The document was authored by IABA President Nema Milaninia and Board Member Farhad Alavi, both of whom are NIAC members. It lays out OFAC's general rules for exports to Iran, and highlights exceptions for the provision of humanitarian aid to the ban on people "exporting any good, technology, or services (be they from the U.S. or a third country) to Iran, either directly or through a third party."
This development was partly inspired by an informational meeting NIAC arranged between Iranian-American organizations and the OFAC administration to discuss what is currently allowed and prohibited under US law and OFAC regulations.
The IABA has been active in addressing US policy towards Iran and recently called for a Florida law to be repealed because it restricted travel to Iran. The organization's efforts last week add momentum behind a mounting sentiment within Congress that humanitarian assistance to Iran should be permitted with the provision of proper limitations and oversight.
This was demonstrated last month by Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and his submission of The Iran Sanctions Act 2008 (S.3227) to Congress. He was followed Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) who sponsored the Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2008. Both bills seek to update current US sanctions law and include exceptions to the trade embargo for the exportation of humanitarian aid. A previous version of the Iran Sanctions Act 2007 (S.970) did not provide for this, allowing only for medicine and food to be made exempt.
To view a copy of the IABA publication "Providing Humanitarian Assistance to Iran under Current OFAC Regulations" click here.
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