The United States will issue temporary licenses to individuals and non-governmental organizations permitting the transfer of funds and export of specialized equipment to aid the victims of the devastating earthquake in Bam, Iran, the White House announced December 31.
The new procedures do not cover such humanitarian relief items as food, certain medicines, clothing, and tents, which do not require a license.
"The Iranian people deserve and need the assistance of the international community to help them recover from the catastrophic results of last week's earthquake," the White House said. "The American people want to help, and share great concern and sympathy for those families and individuals who lost loved ones, their homes and possessions."
The White House statement directs the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control to issue a temporary license to non-governmental organizations operating in Iran, allowing them to transfer funds into the country. Such organizations can also receive licenses for the export of items such as transportation, communications, and personal computer equipment to Iran.
Following is the text of the White House statement issued December 31:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
December 31, 2003
STATEMENT BY THE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY
The President has directed Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of the Treasury John Snow to take significant steps to expedite disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations in response to the devastating earthquake in Bam, Iran.
The following steps are being taken today to facilitate the humanitarian relief efforts of the United States and U.S. non-governmental organizations (NGOs):
The Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) will issue a general license that temporarily permits U.S. individuals or NGOs to transfer funds to organizations operating in Iran to support humanitarian aid activities associated with the tragic earthquake in and around Bam. Donations of humanitarian relief items such as food, certain medicines, clothing and tents do not require a license.
After consultation with Congress, the Secretary of State has determined that, due to the extraordinary humanitarian needs created by this earthquake, it is in the national interest of the United States to issue additional licenses that will enable the Department of State and USAID as well as U.S. NGOs to export to Iran certain items needed for the management of the relief effort, including controlled items such as transportation equipment, satellite telephones, and radio and personal computing systems.
The Iranian people deserve and need the assistance of the international community to help them recover from the catastrophic results of last week's earthquake. The American people want to help, and share great concern and sympathy for those families and individuals who lost loved ones, their homes and possessions.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)