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07/26/13

U.S. Authorizes More Medical Exports to Iran; Financial Sanctions Remain Obstacle

Press Release by National Iranian American Council (NIAC)

Washington, DC - NIAC applauds the Obama administration for expanding the list of medical devices that can be exported to Iran, and urges it to follow up on this action by addressing financial sanctions that have been cutting off humanitarian exports to Iran.


A nurse attends to a patient in an Iranian hospital (file photo)

“Authorizing more medical exports to Iran is a positive step forward and shows that the Obama administration is looking for ways to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Iran,” said NIAC policy director Jamal Abdi. “The U.S. should maximize the effect of this action by opening up banking channels for humanitarian transactions.”

The current sanctions regime has made it virtually impossible for private companies and humanitarian organizations to sell vital medicine and medical supplies to Iran, including drugs needed to treat cancer, hemophilia, and other severe ailments.

“The Obama administration needs to help create a clear pathway for humanitarian transactions through the financial blockade that sanctions have created,” said Abdi. “Without this, the effect of today’s authorization for medical devices will be severely blunted.”


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The State Department's top official coordinating Iran sanctions acknowledged earlier this month that U.S. sanctions have impeded humanitarian transactions for Iran and indicated that the United States government is actively considering ways to solve the problem. Currently, humanitarian transactions must go through foreign financial institutions, which have cut off transactions with Iran due to the severe risks they can face under U.S. sanctions laws. The Central Bank of Iran has also been faulted for failing to allocate sufficient foreign currency for the importation of humanitarian goods.

“Removing bureaucratic hurdles that prevented medical devices from being exported to Iran is an important step,” said Abdi. “But we need decisive action to open financial channels for humanitarian trade in order to end the medical-shortages crisis in Iran.”

About NIAC

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the interests of the Iranian-American community. NIAC’s mission is focused on promoting an active and engaged Iranian-American community, supporting aspirations for human rights and democracy in Iran, opposing war between the US and Iran, and celebrating our community’s deep cultural heritage. NIAC accomplishes its mission by supplying the resources, knowledge and tools to enable greater civic participation by Iranian Americans and informed decision-making by policymakers.

For more information, please visit www.niacouncil.org.


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