The victims of Iran’s recent twin earthquakes will get funding help from the U.S. now that the Treasury Department has granted non-governmental agencies a temporary permit to collect donations.
More than 300 lives were claimed and over 3,000 were injured after two strong tremblers hit northwestern Iran on Aug. 11, according to the Associated Press. Though the U.S. and Iran are embroiled in a bitter fight over Tehran’s suspected nuclear program –- and the recovering country rebuffed America’s recent offer of humanitarian aid –- the Treasury Department announced Tuesday that it will allow select NGOs to fundraise for earthquake victims for 45 days.
“The general license is a demonstration of [the Obama] administration’s commitment to supporting the Iranian people affected by this tragedy, and responds to the American people’s desire to provide immediate assistance,” the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a statement.
The permit will allow NGOs to transfer funds of up to $300,000 to Iran for humanitarian relief and reconstruction efforts, but any additional funding will require applying for a specific license, according to the Treasury Department’s statement. Food and medicinal donations do not require special licenses.
One nonprofit that will now be able to operate on the ground in Iran thanks to the permit is Children of Persia, an organization that works to improve the wellbeing of children, the News Tribune reports.
“This aids our ability to be more effective,” Ali Zinat, a board member, told the news outlet. “Before, (Treasury) hindered our ability to move forward.”
Iran, along with its 50,000 citizens left homeless by the earthquakes, have a long road to rebuilding ahead, but some say that the fundraising permit offers some hope.
“This will . . . show the Iranian people that the American people care about them, and that this is a humanitarian issue that transcends politics,” David Elliott, assistant policy director at the National Iranian American Council, told the News Tribune.“Even though the immediate aftermath of the earthquake is over, there’s still a lot of work to be done.”