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Sanctions And Iran's Humanitarian Needs


U.S. Treasury Building

Treasury announcements aim ensure sanctions “do not impede Iran’s humanitarian imports.”

The United States Treasury Department has announced an expansion of the list of basic medical supplies that can be sent to Iran under a general license and would no longer require specific approval. The Department also published new guidance on the sale to Iran of food, agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices to ensure that all parties comprehend the broad humanitarian allowances embedded in U.S. sanctions laws.


In a press release, the Treasury Department said it was taking action so that the sanctions imposed on Iran to encourage it to comply with its international obligations “do not impede Iran’s humanitarian imports.”

Now companies selling a broad range of medical supplies and devices, including EKGs and dialysis machines, do not need specific licenses from the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in order to export such items to Iran. Exporters are still required to apply for specific licenses for medical devices not included in the expanded list and are encouraged to do so.

The Treasury Department noted that even as U.S. and international sanctions have tightened on Iran, U.S. officials have had extensive discussions with company representatives so that humanitarian exemptions from sanctions are understood. It also cited repeated reports from medical exporters saying that barriers to humanitarian trade have been put up by the government of Iran, “including the Central Bank of Iran’s failing to allocate sufficient foreign currency.”

Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said that the action to expand the general license for the export of medical devises to Iran “reflects an important element of our sanctions policy. Even as we continue to implement and enforce our rigorous sanctions regime against Iran, we are committed to safeguarding legitimate humanitarian trade.”
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