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549. In light of the recent earthquake in Iran, how can I help the Iranian people while making sure to abide by U.S. sanctions?


In light of the tragic earthquake in Iran, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) would like to highlight some of the ways in which Americans can provide humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people, consistent with the Iran-related sanctions administered by OFAC.

General License E, issued by OFAC in 2013 pursuant to the Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, 31 C.F.R. part 560 (ITSR), authorizes nongovernmental organizations to export services to Iran in support of activities related to humanitarian projects to meet basic human needs in Iran, including the provision of relief services related to natural disasters, the provision of donated health-related services, and the distribution of donated articles (such as food, clothing, and medicine) intended to be used to relieve human suffering in Iran. In addition, nongovernmental organizations are authorized to transfer up to $500,000 per year in support of these activities, subject to certain conditions, including reporting requirements.

U.S. individuals may raise funds outside of Iran in support of relief services provided by nongovernmental organizations pursuant to General License E, and may make financial donations to such nongovernmental organizations in support of authorized activities. General License E does not, however, authorize U.S. individuals to transfer financial donations directly to Iran or nongovernmental organizations in Iran or to organize disaster relief services in Iran such as fire, rescue, or medical services. U.S. persons interested in doing so should consider working through a nongovernmental organization in order to conduct such activity.

In addition, donations of articles such as food, clothing, and medicine intended to be used to relieve human suffering are exempt from the sanctions on trade between the United States and Iran, as long as the donations are not being sent to the Government of Iran or any Iranian individual or entity on the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List).

Finally, U.S. financial institutions are authorized to process noncommercial, personal remittances to Iran, which may include a personal transfer of funds from the United States to Iran to assist a friend or family member, provided that the transfer complies with the requirements of sections 560.516 and 560.550 of the ITSR.

Date Released
November 17, 2017