Swiss humanitarian channel for Iran finalized

February 28, 2020 - 18:4

TEHRAN — The United States and Swiss governments have finalized the terms of a humanitarian trade agreement, which would allow companies to send food, medicine and other critical supplies to Iran.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced in a statement on Thursday that the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA) is fully operational.

“The SHTA will further facilitate the flow of humanitarian goods to the Iranian people,” the statement said.

“The SHTA is the first operational channel established under the framework announced by the U.S. Department of State and the Treasury in October 2019 to facilitate humanitarian trade with Iran. Initial transactions were successfully conducted in late January 2020 to demonstrate the viability and effectiveness of the SHTA.”

According to the U.S. Treasury, while the United States maintains broad exceptions and authorizations for the conduct of humanitarian trade with Iran, the SHTA presents a voluntary option for facilitating payment for exports of agricultural commodities, food, medicine, and medical devices to Iran in a manner that ensures the upmost transparency. 

“Companies within Swiss jurisdiction may reach out to Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) at for further details on requirements and instructions for participating in the SHTA. This includes entities that are owned or controlled by U.S. and third-country persons and domiciled in Switzerland. Parties may continue to avail themselves of existing exceptions and authorizations to conduct humanitarian trade with Iran outside of the humanitarian channel.”

Earlier this month, Deputy Health Minister Karim Hemmati said the SHTA will not remove the impact of unfair U.S. sanctions on the import of medicine by Iran, as it is not capable of carrying money in large scale.

The Ministry of Health welcomes every mechanism that eases supply of medicine and medical equipment using all the available capacities to patients, especially those with cancer and rare diseases, Hemmati said.

However, the financial mechanism launched recently by Switzerland cannot solve the problem of supplying necessary medicines and transferring money to purchase them, he lamented.