Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Choking humanitarian aid to Iran

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) complained that Trump’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran is also stopping key assistance to flood victims and refugees there, hindering vital humanitarian work in the country.

Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the NRC and a former United Nations official, warned that support to some 82,000 people in Iran could be cut off by mid-August because his group cannot get funds into the country.
We have now, for a full year, tried to find banks that are able and willing to transfer money from Western donors to support our work for Afghan refugees and disaster victims in Iran, but we are hitting brick walls on every side,” said Egeland. The sanctions imposed by the U.S. on Iran are so comprehensive that banks are unwilling to facilitate transfers for humanitarian work. If all bank channels are blocked, then so is the delivery of critical aid to vulnerable people.”

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has collected funds from a global flood appeal that it cannot transfer to its local outfit, the IRCS.
Due to the U.S. sanctions, IRCS has not been able to receive three million euro cash contributions that the Red Cross Red Crescent Societies, governments and organisations have donated to Iran’s flood-hit people through the IFRC emergency appeal,” it said in a statement.

According to Egeland, Europe’s bankers are just too scared to move money to Iran despite certain concessions to the sanctions rules.  
Norwegian, European and other banks are too afraid of U.S. sanctions to transfer the money that European governments have given for our vital aid work,” Egeland said. We will run out of cash in two weeks and will no longer be able to provide relief to poor Afghan families,” he added, referencing the more than three million Afghans who fled conflict, poverty and natural disasters at home to neighbouring Iran. 

The Socialist Standard has drawn attention to the inhumanity of sanctions here

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