Temporary ease of sanctions on Iran to aid earthquake survivors

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A terrible earthquake hit a large area on the Iran-Iraq border on November 12, 2017 around 21:48PM local time. More than a hundred aftershock tremors are still striking the area, preventing people from traveling back home, entering their homes, or moving inside the towns. In particular, the town of Sarpol e-Zahab, a locality of about 36,000 inhabitants, was one of the most affected areas. Here, the death toll rose to 236 people, and thousands of injured people continue to need medical attention 24 hours later. Rescue teams are still unearthing bodies. Among the casualties are innocent children, whose access to medical care is precarious and who cannot return to school in the near future, as schools have been severely damaged. Many inhabitants lost their home, and their children are forced to sleep in cars and in tents in a weather bordering on winter.

While international NGOs are on the ground in Iraq offering relief to those affected, it is very difficult to get into Iran and help in the areas mostly damaged by the trembler. The US sanctions placed on Iran prevent much aid from being sent to where it is most needed right now. While the US Department of State issued a message of sympathy on November 13, 2017, (https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/11/275491.htm much more can be done. The US has the ability to help. Many people want and can help, but sending aid to Iran is nearly impossible without a temporary ease of sanctions on humanitarian aid. Former US President, Barack Obama and his administration temporarily eased the sanctions in 2012 for 45 days, when a deadly earthquake hit Iran on August 11. Under the lift, NGOs were able to transfer up to $300,000 in funds to Iran at that time to help those affected.

We ask President Donald Trump and the US Senate to please allow a similar ease of sanctions to help the children of Iran who lost homes and family in the earthquake. Mr. President, Senators Casey and Toomey, please support humanitarianism. Please allow aid to be sent to Iran. Thank you.



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