While during the past few days, media reports indicated that US sanctions against Iran had caused problems for US aid to reach the quake-stricken people of Iran’s Azerbaijan provinces or had made it impossible, Tehran officials have now announced that they refuse to accept US aid due to the fact that there are no good intentions behind it.
Hassan Ghadimi, the head of the Crisis Management Organization of the Ministry of the Interior, stated in this regard, “Iran did not accept US humanitarian aid for the earthquake survivors.” He continued, “We do not believe that there were good intentions behind this offer. Right now, we are faced with a crisis to provide medicine due to the sanctions.”
This is while the US has adopted laws which determine the permitted level for sending aid to Iran. Despite this matter, Ghadimi says that the US can annul the sanctions to help Iran. This is the same proposal that Iran's negotiating team have discussed with representatives of the P5+1 (US, Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany). Tehran asks the US and its allies to cancel the sanctions so that, in exchange, the Islamic Republic would be able to cooperate on certain matters.
According to Agence France Presse, the US, after Saturday’s earthquakes in the Azerbaijan province, announced in a statement that it was ready to help Iran in these difficult conditions. But Tehran's response was that the US had done its utmost to isolate Iran during the past year. Although Iran’s Red Cross has stated that it has not accepted aid from countries like Germany, Taiwan, and Russia, media reports indicate that aid from Qatar, Pakistan, Switzerland, and Azerbaijan have reached Iran.
Based on the report of this French news agency, the US has declared that, despite sanctions, there are ways to send aid to Iran's quake-stricken areas. The US State Department spokesman has said in this regard, “The Americans hope that, in these difficult conditions, they will be able to offer humanitarian aid to Iran and without receiving permission to have financial transactions with Iran, send food and medicine to this country. This is while personal financial transactions with Iran with no trade aspect are also legal.”
Meanwhile, the National Iranian-American Council has asked the US administration to guarantee the success of efforts to help the quake-stricken people and assure financial institutions that the transfer of these aids will be exempt from sanctions.
It should be mentioned that there has been no diplomatic relations between the US and Iran during the last three decades and, since the 1990s, sanctions imposed by the US have severely limited bilateral economic relations.