Washington, DC – Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY/16th), Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, recently released detailed proposals for addressing the humanitarian crisis in Iran due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposals would help ensure humanitarian assistance flows to the Iranian people, as Iran is amongst the hardest-hit countries of the COVID-19 pandemic. PAAIA has been in contact with the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the proposals reflect some of the recommendations PAAIA laid out in its letter to the administration late last month.
The policy recommendations offer concrete steps forward for both the U.S. and Iranian governments. For the U.S. government, the lawmakers’ recommendations include the clarification of what is permitted and prohibited under U.S. law and the expansion of humanitarian exemptions under General License E, as well as the issuance of guidelines on delivering medical supplies to Iran. For the Iranian government, the lawmakers recommend that they release all politically-held dual nationals from Iranian prisons and accept U.S. offers of assistance to the Iranian people.
The spread of COVID-19 has been a catastrophe for the people of Iran and of great concern for the Iranian American community, many of whom have family and friends still residing in Iran. PAAIA is working to bring relief to the Iranian people through its coalition, the Humanitarian Relief Coalition (HUREC), which works in collaboration with international relief organizations that are uniquely positioned to respond to the coronavirus crisis in Iran. HUREC ensures donations are quickly and effectively turned into needed medical supplies and pharmaceuticals to reach Iranians in the areas most affected. HUREC needs financial support to make a significant impact in combating the COVID-19 pandemic. You can help by clicking here to make a donation.
As the world struggles to contain the COVID-19 epidemic, all countries must come together to prevent a human catastrophe of enormous proportions. PAAIA asks that the administration heed the proposals released by the lawmakers and expand sanctions relief for humanitarian assistance to ease the situation in Iran and ensure lives are saved. PAAIA commends Representative Engel and Senator Menendez for taking on this important issue as the world struggles to contain the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.
April 8th, 2020