April 17, 2013, Washington, D.C. – In the aftermath of the second deadly earthquake to strike Iran within a week, a coalition of Iranian American, human rights, and humanitarian organizations have reiterated their call for President Obama to take appropriate action to ensure that sanctions do not impede humanitarian assistance and relief efforts, and that Americans are able to provide assistance as needed to the Iranian people.
Dear President Obama,
Yesterday, a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Khash, Iran. Early reports have indicated that it was the strongest earthquake to hit the region in decades. We write you to urge that the White House, in coordination with the Department of Treasury and Department of State, take action to ensure that sanctions do not in any way impede relief efforts, and to enable Americans to provide assistance as needed to the Iranian people.
This latest earthquake follows a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that struck Bushehr on April 9, that killed at least 37 people, injured hundreds more, and destroyed over 700 homes. Our coalition wrote to you last week following that earthquake to urge that efforts be undertaken to ensure that sanctions do not impede relief efforts. Today, we write you in the aftermath of another deadly earthquake to reiterate our request.
In 2012, following deadly earthquakes in northwest Iran, our organizations urged you to take similar action. A few days later, the administration issued a temporary general license to allow charitable organizations to provide direct humanitarian relief and reconstruction assistance to the Iranian people. Similarly, when an earthquake struck Bam, Iran, in 2003, the Bush Administration issued a general license to help enable relief organizations to work in Iran and support recovery efforts.
We have been greatly appreciative of these past efforts and hope that, in light of these latest disasters, you will continue to take action as necessary to ensure that sanctions do not get in the way of humanitarian relief.
Child Foundation, Children of Persia, Havaar, The HAND Foundation, Iranian Alliances Across Borders, Iranian American Bar Association, IMAN Foundation, Keep Children in School, Moms Against Poverty, National Iranian American Council, Pars Equality Center, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans, United For Iran, and the West Asia Council.