December 22, 2016

U.S. Treasury Eases Humanitarian Trade with Iran

Contact: Tyler Cullis
Phone: 203-907-7529
Email: tcullis@niacouncil.org

Washington, DC – The National Iranian American Council released the following statement following OFAC’s amendments to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (ITSR):
“We are encouraged by OFAC’s proactive steps to ensure U.S. companies are actually able to utilize humanitarian exceptions to the trade embargo with Iran. OFAC’s amendments to the U.S. trade embargo ease the licensing process for medical device exporters to Iran and provide authorization for U.S. persons to provide training that is ordinarily incident to the export of agricultural commodities, medicine, and medical devices. 
“In particular, this will ease burdens placed on U.S. medical device exporters who are able to sell devices to Iran but faced significant obstacles preventing them from training or offering guidance to Iranian medical workers utilizing their products.  We applaud OFAC for taking a leap forward in ensuring that humanitarian-related trade between the United States and Iran can take place in spite of the continued U.S. embargo on Iran.
“OFAC’s amendments break an important taboo.  For the first time in decades, U.S. and Iranian persons will be allowed to be in direct, person-to-person commercial interaction with each other as a result of OFAC’s authorization to provide training for certain exports.  At the same time that Boeing is prepared to export aircraft to Iran and presumably provide training in the use of such aircraft to Iranian pilots, OFAC’s move today is an important shift in U.S. sanctions policy towards Iran, one that is expressly designed to serve U.S. interests.  
“It is our persistent belief that the U.S. trade embargo with Iran is a relic of the past – one that inhibits the United States from developing person-to-person and commercial ties with the Iranian people and realizing its broader strategic interests in the Middle East. We hope that OFAC’s action today is one in a series to follow and that U.S. sanctions policy towards Iran is narrowly targeted so that a wider range of person-to-person and commercial interaction between the U.S. and Iran can take place.” 
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