By Staff, National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
NIAC welcomes the White House’s decision to hold a conference call with the Iranian American community about how they can provide disaster relief to the Iranian people. The call was led by the White House and representatives from the State Department, Treasury Department, and USAID.
The call, which was initiated at the request of NIAC and the West Asia Council, provided an opportunity for Iranian-American community leaders and other concerned stakeholders to engage directly with the White House.
During the call, the Treasury Department indicated that they have received very few applications from nonprofit organizations seeking to contribute to earthquake relief efforts. NIAC believes the expense and complication of applying for specific licenses has deterred many organizations from providing relief assistance, and NIAC reiterated the recommendation that the administration issue a general license that would facilitate more rapid disaster assistance from more organizations.
This week, NIAC also worked closely with Congressman Kucinich (D-OH) to advance a letter urging President Obama to issue such a general license and for the “administration to provide public guidance that financial institutions are permitted and encouraged to facilitate all legal transactions that have been licensed by the U.S. Government.” You can help call on the President to issue a sanctions waiver to allow U.S. relief organizations to aid to the earthquake victims here.
The Kucinich letter was also signed by Representatives Keith Ellison (D-MN), John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Michael M. Honda (D-CA), John L. Mica (R-FL), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), John W. Olver (D-MA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Andre Carson (D-IN) and Barbara Lee (D-CA).
For individuals seeking more information about how to provide relief assistance, the Treasury Department has issued this guidance.
There are also a number of nonprofit organizations seeking to provide disaster assistance. Moms Against Poverty received a license to provide temporary shelter, food, medicine, and trauma counseling. Relief International and Children of Persia have also applied for licenses from the U.S. Treasury to provide earthquake relief inside Iran. In addition, the Child Foundation and the Iranian American Muslim Association of North America (IMAN) are in the process of shipping emergency supplies to Iran. IMAN is accepting donations of certain humanitarian items - for a list of approved items and more information on how to donate, contact IMAN directly at email@example.com or (310-202-8181). Separately, the American Red Cross has encouraged NIAC to dispel rumors that it is accepting funds for Iranian relief efforts. The Iranian Red Crescent is not accepting aid from other Red Cross chapters at this time.
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