U.S. Vows to Speed Aid to Iran Earthquake Victims
The New York Times / Rick Gladstone

The Obama administration said Tuesday that it would expedite applications to help Iran’s earthquake victims. Prospective donors have expressed worry and confusion over whether such charitable aid runs afoul of the extensive American sanctions imposed on the country because of its disputed nuclear program.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees a bureaucratic maze of regulations on Iranian sanctions, requires a special license for making charitable donations. Exemptions are granted for personal remittances.

In a statement on its Web site titled “Clarifying Guidance on Humanitarian Assistance to Iran,” the Treasury said it would “give high priority to processing such license applications.”

The Treasury acted after the National Iranian American Council, an advocacy group, led a coalition of organizations in calling on the administration to “take immediate action” that would allow emergency assistance to the earthquake victims without violating the sanctions, which have paralyzed most commercial transactions between the United States and Iran.

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