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U.S. says humanitarian aid to Iran's quake-stricken victims exempt from sanctions

(Xinhua)

08:57, August 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- Humanitarian aid offered to Iranians hit by two major earthquakes on Saturday will be exempt from sanctions imposed by Washington on the Islamic republic, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

"Americans wishing to provide humanitarian assistance to Iranians during this time may donate food and medicine without obtaining an Iranian transactions regulations license," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters at a regular news briefing.

"Additionally certain non-commercial personal financial transactions to Iran are authorized under existing general licenses," she said, calling the exemption a "standing policy" of the U.S. government.

White House spokesman Jay Carney expressed readiness to help after the twin earthquakes jolted the northwestern Iran on Saturday, leaving 306 people killed and 3,037 others injured.

Nuland said Washington has received no aid request from Tehran and the country has stated it did not see the need for foreign assistance.

"Nonetheless, our offer stays on the table," she added.

Washington and Tehran severed diplomatic relations in 1980, and the pair are currently involved in a heightened dispute over the latter's nuclear program.

Washington and its European allies have slapped rounds of sanctions on Tehran, on top of those by the UN Security Council, over the years to rev up the pressure.

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