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article imageUS new regulations on sending humanitarian aid to Iran

By Ken Hanly     Oct 27, 2019 in Politics
The US Treasury Dept, has announced a system of permissible trade with Iran that it claims will ease the shipment of food and medicine into the country for humanitarian reasons.
Regulations in effect will restrict humanitarian aid
Although there has never been any legal basis for restricting humanitarian aid according to US law, US hostility and sanctions against Iran have in fact made it all but impossible to ship anything to the country without incurring the wrath of the US including blocked access to bank financing.
A recent article claims: "The move announced Friday addresses concerns by aid groups and others that sanctions prevented shipments of food and medicine that were traditionally allowed to countries under sanctions.President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. a nuclear agreement with Iran and reinstated sanctions last year."
Brian Hook of the US State Department said: "A new humanitarian channel will make it easier for foreign governments, financial institutions and private companies to engage in legitimate humanitarian trade on behalf of the Iranian people while reducing the risk that money ends up in the wrong hands."
However, several non-governmental aid organizations (NGOs) said that the new regulations were likely to make it even more difficult to send humanitarian aid shipments to Iran.
The new regulations
The new regulations demand that institutions sending aid to Iran send "substantial and unprecedented" information including all invoices and details of all customers, and whether any of them were on UN, US, or EU blacklists. Some analysts are predicting that no bankers will be willing to accept these new conditions and as a result aid will be further impeded.
Criticism of the regulations
A former Obama official was critical of the regulations: "Brian O'Toole, a senior Treasury Department adviser dealing with sanctions under former president Barack Obama, said the measure looked like it was aimed more at gathering intelligence than helping ordinary Iranians and expected many foreign banks would be unable to provide the level of detail required."I think this is going to have a chilling effect. It will have the exact opposite effect of what they're claiming it will," said O'Toole, now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank."
O'Toole, also claimed that the regulations looked like they were aimed at countering INSTEX, a channel set up by EU countries to skirt unilateral US sanctions.
The National Iranian American Council was also critical of the new regulations claiming that they would make humanitarian trade more difficult:"The Trump administration has sounded the death knell for humanitarian trade with Iran," the Iranian American group said in a statement...Let's be clear: There is unlikely to be a single banker in the world that will accept these conditions and participate in the trade..The Trump administration is surely aware of this fact, and its humanitarian channel should be viewed as nothing more than farce."
More about Iran US relations, humanitarian aid to Iran, Iran
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