News ID: 204504
Published: 0251 GMT November 17, 2017

Criticism of US sanctions returns after Iran quake

Criticism of US sanctions returns after Iran quake
A man distributes bread to a survivor of Sunday's earthquake, in Sarpol-e Zahab, western Iran, on Nov. 16, 2017.

With Iranian-Americans abroad unable to send money directly to Iran to aid those affected by this week's powerful earthquake that killed over 430 people, criticism of US sanctions on Iran flared up anew on Thursday.

The 2015 nuclear deal Tehran struck with world powers lifted some sanctions but others, dating back 1979, still stand, including those that prohibit about one million Iranian-Americans from directly sending cash to Iran, AP reported.

IRNA as well as other media published articles criticizing the rules.

"Despite all the difficulties, Iranians living in the US are doing their best to devise innovative solutions to send their humanitarian supplies to the quake-hit areas in western Iran," an IRNA report said.

President Donald Trump has not commented on the earthquake so far. He has refused to recertify the Iran nuclear deal, sending it Congress instead, and has accused Iran of arming Yemeni forces with ballistic missiles to attack Saudi Arabia, an allegation that Iran has denied.

The US Treasury has lifted some sanctions in the past to help with Iranian earthquake relief, most notably in 2003 under the administration of George W. Bush when a magnitude 6.6 earthquake killed 26,000 people in Bam.

In a statement to AP, the Treasury called the earthquake "tragic" and said it allows donations of food, clothing and medicine to previously approved American organizations, which then send them on to Iran. Those organizations also can send up to $500,000 a year in cash, the Treasury said.

However, the Treasury did not respond to questions whether it would lift sanctions as in 2003.

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