NIAC Action welcomes OFAC’s decision to update its List of Basic Medical Supplies generally licensed for export to Iran by making several substantive additions that will ease the provision of medical supplies to Iran. The updated List includes, for the first time, MRI machines, CT scanners, nuclear medicine imaging machines, X-ray machines, genetic testing products, oxygen tanks, and contraceptives. OFAC’s inclusion of such items on its List of Basic Medical Supplies is a positive signal of its intent to continue liberalizing humanitarian trade between the U.S. and Iran.
While these items were available for specific licensing, their inclusion on OFAC’s List of Basic Medical Supplies means that U.S. medical exporters can export or re-export the medical devices to Iran without need to go through the time-consuming process of applying for a specific license. This move will not only ease the burden faced by U.S. exporters in providing such devices to Iran, but will also free up critical time for OFAC to process other specific license applications that may further help bridge the divide that continues to exist between our two countries.
NIAC Action believes that this is a positive first step for OFAC in knocking down the barriers that continue to prevent humanitarian trade between the United States and Iran. Other important steps would include the creation of a direct banking channel between the two countries. Too often, banks have refused to facilitate the transfer of funds in support of humanitarian trade between the U.S. and Iran. While the potential lifting of financial sanctions in the months ahead might ease banking difficulties, the provision of a direct banking channel between the U.S. and Iran would help ensure that OFAC’s general license authorizations – including for humanitarian trade – are not underutilized due to difficulties making and receiving payment between the two countries.