FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – In the aftermath of a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that struck Bushehr, Iran, on Tuesday, a coalition of Iranian-American, human rights, and humanitarian organizations called on President Obama to enable humanitarian assistance for the victims and to ensure sanctions do not impede relief efforts.
“Enabling the American people to help the Iranian people will support relief efforts and demonstrate that disputes between governments should never interfere with humanitarian needs and goodwill among people,” wrote the group.
The letter signatories are: Child Foundation, Children of Persia, Havaar, The HAND Foundation, Iranian Alliances Across Borders, Iranian American Bar Association, IMAN Foundation, Moms Against Poverty, National Iranian American Council, Pars Equality Center, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, United For Iran, and the West Asia Council.
The full text of the letter is below:
April 11, 2013
President Barack Obama
Dear President Obama,
On Tuesday, April 9, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Bushehr, Iran, reportedly killing at least 37 people, injuring at least 850 more, and destroying over 700 homes. In the aftermath of this disaster, we write to urge that the White House, in coordination with the Department of Treasury and Department of State, take appropriate action to enable humanitarian and reconstruction assistance and ensure that U.S. sanctions on Iran do not in any way impede relief efforts.
We greatly appreciated your Administration’s efforts last year when two earthquakes struck northwest Iran. The White House, Treasury Department, and State Department took action to issue a General License temporarily authorizing charitable organizations to provide direct humanitarian and reconstruction assistance to the Iranian people despite sanctions. Similarly, when an earthquake struck Bam, Iran, in 2003, the Bush Administration issued a General License to help enable relief organizations to work in Iran and support recovery efforts. We strongly supported these efforts and hope that you will once again take appropriate action to issue a General License and take any additional measures necessary to ensure relief efforts are not impeded by U.S. sanctions.
Enabling the American people to help the Iranian people will support relief efforts and demonstrate that disputes between governments should never interfere with humanitarian needs and goodwill among people. We strongly encourage that you take appropriate action and our organizations stand ready to help with any such effort.
Children of Persia
The HAND Foundation
Iranian Alliances Across Borders
Iranian American Bar Association
Keep Children in School Foundation
Moms Against Poverty
National Iranian American Council
Pars Equality Center
Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans
United For Iran
West Asia Council
cc: Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew
Secretary of State John Kerry