Swiss government creates channel to transfer humanitarian aid to Iran

The first patients that will benefit from the program are cancer and transplant patients.

Cancer patient Maziar Hashemi and his wife Fereshteh leave after meeting with his transplant doctor in Boston (photo credit: REUTERS)
Cancer patient Maziar Hashemi and his wife Fereshteh leave after meeting with his transplant doctor in Boston
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A philanthropic channel working out of Switzerland has created a system allowing humanitarian aid to be transferred to Iran without tripping over current United States sanctions already put in place, the BBC reported.
The Swiss and US governments on Thursday said the humanitarian channel to bring food and medicine to Iran has started trial operations to help supply Swiss goods to the struggling population.
The new "payment mechanism" was fashioned to help companies based in Switzerland have a "secure payment channel with a Swiss bank through which payments for their exports to Iran are guaranteed," the article explained.
The first patients that will benefit from the program are cancer and transplant patients. The initial trial transfer was a scheduled transaction for $2.55 million worth of cancer and organ transplant medication, according to the BBC.
While humanitarian aid is exempt from the grip of US sanctions, the channel will be subjected to "strict due diligence measures to avoid misuse by the Iranian regime," the US said, adding that they have provided a "model for facilitating further humanitarian exports to Iran."
"Humanitarian transactions are currently allowed under our sanctions programs, and we encourage companies to use this humanitarian mechanism," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, adding that he is confident that this avenue "will improve the flow of humanitarian goods to the Iranian people."
Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif said on Monday that the Swiss humanitarian channel is not a sign of the United States' goodwill, Iran's Student News Agency (ISNA) reported.
"This is a small step, and we thank the Swiss government for its efforts ... but this channel is not a sign of America's goodwill at all," ISNA quoted Zarif as saying.

Reuters contributed to this report.