First Switzerland-Iran deal finalized through humanitarian channel

Food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies are not included in the sanctions that the US reimposed on Tehran.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Swiss President Alain Berset (L) photographed together in Bern on 3 July 2018. [RUBEN SPRICH / AFP / Getty]
A Swiss pharmaceutical company has successfully completed the first transaction under the latest humanitarian trade channel with the Islamic Republic of Iran, the government announced yesterday.

“We would like to emphasize that the operationalization of the SHTA is progressing and that several companies have already been endorsed, more companies will follow. Further transactions should be carried out shortly,” Reuters quoted an email by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) as saying.

A medicine shop in Iran. (Stringer/AFP)

The Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA) channel, which brings food and medicine to Iran, started trial operations in January in order to supply Swiss goods to the country’s struggling population without violating US sanctions.

Food, medicine, and other humanitarian supplies are not included in the sanctions that the US reimposed on Tehran. This happened after President Donald J. Trump unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 international deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

The US measures do, however, target everything from oil sales to shipping and financial activities. As a result, they have deterred several foreign banks from doing business with the Islamic Republic – including humanitarian deals.

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