Yesterday, at the urging of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a group which consistently lobbies against sanctions on the Islamic Republic and its nuclear program, several congressmen sent a letter to President Obama urging him to extend a sanctions waiver issued after last August’s deadly earthquake allowing Americans to send humanitarian assistance to Iran.
The congressmen may be well-meaning, but the call to extend the sanctions waiver is wrong-headed. Charities in Iran are seldom charitable. Take the Imam Khomeini Relief Committee, for example. While the group may brag about its efforts to provide medical care, blankets, and food support to the poor, charity is not its primary goal. Indeed, just two years ago, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the group’s Lebanon branches as complicit in Hezbollah terrorism.
Likewise, the Iranian Red Crescent has become the mechanism by which the Iranian regime sends aid to the Syrian government. While the Iranian government claims that the shipments are humanitarian in nature, U.S. intelligence suspects that the group is actually providing weaponry and other military equipment.
Suffering in Iran is not the result of an inability of Westerners to send money to that country; rather, it is the result of a regime whose priorities are out-of-whack. If the congressmen truly seek to help the Iranian people, they will not channel money to compromised charities, but instead work to end the far greater suffering brought on Iranian citizens by the regime itself.