Iran, Switzerland Complete First Deal Through Humanitarian Channel
TEHRAN (Dispatches) – A humanitarian aid channel allowing Swiss-based companies to send medicines and other vital goods to Iran despite U.S. sanctions has become operational.
According To Iran News,
On Monday, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) confirmed to Reuters that the first transaction had been completed. The channel, known as the “Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement” (SHTA), was facilitated by Swiss “good offices” between the U.S. and Iran. It comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Iran particularly hard, and as Switzerland and Tehran mark 100 years of diplomatic ties. Food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are exempt from U.S. sanctions.
“We would like to emphasize that the operationalization of the SHTA is progressing and that a number of companies have already been approved, more companies will follow. Further transactions should be carried out shortly,” SECO told Reuters by email.
SECO did not identify the Swiss drugmaker or give a value for the shipment, which it said involved a cancer drug used to treat iron overload caused by repeated blood transfusions.
Trial operations of the channel began in January, during which Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis supplied Iran with €2.3 million (CHF2.4 million) worth of cancer drugs and medicines needed for organ transplants. The channel has not taken off; Swiss officials blame delays on Covid-19.
Food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are exempt from the sanctions that Washington reimposed on Tehran after President Donald Trump walked away from a 2015 international deal over Iran’s nuclear program.
But the U.S. measures targeting everything from oil sales to shipping and financial activities have deterred several foreign banks from doing business with the Islamic Republic – including humanitarian deals.
Meanwhile Chairman of the Board of the Iran-Switzerland Chamber of Commerce Mr. Sharif Nezam-Mafi in an interview with ILNA confirmed the report, saying that this deal was just for medicines for cancer or blood patients.
He added that so far there is no more detail of the shipment yet but he knows that the medicines have been shipped from Swiss-based companies.
Nezam-Mafi reiterated that nature of this transaction with the previous one which happened almost six months ago is not different.
He noted that this is a good signal for trade in the framework of this mechanism and it indicates the transfer of money by Iran’s Central Bank for this deal.