Writing in Commentary, Alana Goodman reports that the White House allowed cash transfers to Iran from non-profit groups for the purpose of earthquake relief – even though those transfers violate U.S. sanctions.
In her piece, Goodman draws from Josh Rogin in Foreign Policy‘s “The Cable”:
The Treasury Department issued a 45-day general license to allow officially registered NGOs to send up to $300,000 to Iran for humanitarian relief and reconstruction activities related to two Aug. 11 earthquakes that struck northern Iran and killed more than 250 people. Food and medicine aid is already exempted from sanctions against Iran. The George W. Bush administration took a similar action in 2003.
Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough explained on the White House blog that the Iranian government had refused to accept offers of official help for earthquake victims from the U.S. government, so the administration decided this was the best way to facilitate aid to the disaster area.