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Geneva accords pledge to ease humanitarian transactions for Iranians

The P5+1 is still trying to figure out how to keep its promise to facilitate Iranian purchases of food and medicine and other humanitarian trade.
Young Iranian women attend a ceremony to mark World HIV/AIDS Day at a cultural centre in Tehran December 1, 2005. On World AIDS Day, ways of having "healthy and safe sexual life" were explained to Iranians, who live in a country where having illicit sexual relationships is a crime. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl

While attention has focused on the amount of sanctions relief Iran will receive under last weekend’s breakthrough nuclear agreement, for many Iranians the biggest benefit might come from easier access to Western medicine and a legal way to pay tuition for Iranian students abroad.

Although all US sanctions legislation has what is known as a “humanitarian exemption,” US blacklisting of most Iranian banks has in practice made it almost impossible for Iranians to find a legal way to move money for any purpose. The result has been shortages of life-saving drugs for cancer and other dire diseases while ordinary Iranians have had to resort to shady methods such as hawalas to move funds to and from Iran.

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