Washington, DC – NIAC applauds the Treasury Department’s decision to ease sanctions to enable humanitarian activities by nongovernmental organizations in Iran and athletic exchanges between the U.S. and Iran. This long sought action will help ensure that sanctions do not prevent humanitarian organizations from providing disaster relief and other services to meet basic human needs.
“Today’s action is critical in helping prevent broad sanctions from isolating ordinary Iranians and ensuring that humanitarian needs of ordinary people do not fall prey to political disputes between the U.S. and Iranian governments,” said NIAC Policy Director Jamal Abdi. “In lieu of formal diplomatic relations between the two governments, people-to-people diplomacy and athletic exchanges are crucial for bridging divides between the American and Iranian people.”
NIAC has worked to ease these sanctions for four years. The changes enacted today closely resemble the Stand with the Iranian People Act (SWIPA), legislation introduced by Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) in 2009 and strongly supported by NIAC, that would enable humanitarian relief and people-to-people work between the U.S. and Iran. NIAC commends Representative Ellison and his colleagues who supported this measure and worked to lift these restrictions.
NIAC also worked closely with humanitarian organizations who dealt directly with the impact of these restrictions and worked to lift these restrictions. NIAC also worked with a coalition of Iranian-American organizations following major earthquakes in Iran to secure a temporary lifting of sanctions to enable relief work. Now, those sanctions have been lifted permanently and NIAC commends all of the organizations and individuals involved in this important effort, including: Child Foundation, Children of Persia, Havaar, The HAND Foundation, Iranian Alliances Across Borders, Iranian American Bar Association, IMAN Foundation, Keep Children in School Foundation, Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Washington Office, Mercy Corps, Moms Against Poverty, Operation USA, Pars Equality Center, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, Relief International, United For Iran, and West Asia Council.
“This is further proof that counterproductive sanctions that punish the wrong people can be recalibrated and lifted as long as we are determined to press for solutions,” Abdi said. “Serious issues remain to be addressed, including banking sanctions that will still impose hurdles for humanitarian work and sports diplomacy, but we hope to make further progress on this issue.”