US loosens sanctions on Iran for disaster relief, sports

WASHINGTON - The United States relaxed sanctions on Iran on Tuesday to make it easier for US humanitarian groups to work there and sports exchanges to occur between Americans and Iranians, a possible goodwill gesture after Iran elected a new moderate president.
The move announced by the US Treasury Department means non-profit groups focused on disaster relief, wildlife conservation, human rights and similar programs will no longer have to apply for special permission to enter Iran and conduct business there.
It also allows Iranian and US athletes to pay for sports exchanges and matches between the two countries without a special application, which can help encourage exchanges, analysts say.
"I would read this as a significant sign that the United States is pulling out the gestures that are available, and that the positive gestures from Rouhani are begetting positive gestures from our side," said Jamal Abdi, policy director at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), about the move on Tuesday.