President Bush directed Treasury Secretary Snow and State Department Secretary Powell to ease restrictions to assist humanitarian relief activities for earthquake victims in Iran. Today the Treasury Department announced that the Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC") is taking extraordinary steps along with the Department of State and USAID to expedite disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations in response to the devastating earthquake in Bam, Iran.
"We understand the need to speed up the process allowing nongovernmental organizations to help the people devastated by the earthquake in Iran. Getting aid to those so greatly affected by this devastating earthquake is a top priority," stated Treasury Secretary John Snow.
The following authorizations and expedited procedures are being instituted today:
Issuance of a General License (not requiring any application to, or further specific authorization from OFAC) authorizing cash donations to nongovernmental organizations to be used for disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations in response to the earthquake;
Authorization to carry out humanitarian relief activities in Iran of any nongovernmental organization registered with, funded by, or under contract with the State Department/USAID;
In response to applications, immediate issuance of specific licenses to nongovernmental organizations not covered above previously authorized to engage in humanitarian activities in Afghanistan or countries currently subject to economic sanctions to carry out humanitarian relief activities in Iran;
Expedited issuance of specific licenses to nongovernmental organizations not previously authorized by OFAC to engage in humanitarian activities in countries subject to economic sanctions.
The OFAC Licensing Division will remain open tomorrow, January 1, 2004, to ensure that licenses are issued as quickly as possible under the above criteria and that telephone inquiries are answered to address any questions or concerns that may arise.