Two major humanitarian groups have warned that United States sanctions on Iran are stopping cash flows for vital humanitarian work in the country.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS) complained that U.S. President Donald Trump’s so-called “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran is also stopping key assistance to flood victims and refugees there.
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 in to the Islamic Republic.
“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. “If all bank channels are blocked, then so is the delivery of critical aid to vulnerable people.”
Meanwhile, the Geneva-based International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has collected funds that it cannot transfer to its local outfit, the IRCS.
Last year, President Trump pulled the U.S. out of a nuclear deal with Iran and key world powers that had been agreed in 2015, and then ramped up sanctions to pressure Tehran and to lock it out of the global economy. White House officials say the sanctions are aimed at Iran’s energy sector and regime hardliners, and do not apply to essential items like food, medicine and humanitarian relief, even while these may have been indirectly affected.
[Inter Press Service]