Iran (IP)-The US Treasury claimed banks that process payments for humanitarian aid to Iran would not be penalized under its unilateral sanctions.

Iran PressAmerica: Following a European appeal for leniency, US authorities said foreign banks would not be punished for financing the supply of health and medical items such as hand sanitizer, ventilators, or personal protective equipment.

In a statement explaining the workings of the sanctions, US officials wrote, "The United States maintains broad exceptions ... that allow for the commercial sale and export of humanitarian goods."

The statement also made clear that there were other exceptions to processing payments with the country, such as covering staff costs at international organizations with missions in Iran.

In late October, Germany, France, and Britain urged the Trump administration to reconsider broad, new sanctions against Iran’s banks, arguing they would deter legitimate humanitarian trade, diplomatic correspondence shows.

That letter came after the United States imposed sanctions against 18 Iranian banks as part of a campaign to exert "maximum pressure" on Tehran over its nuclear program.

The order barred Americans further from dealing with the Iranian banks and extended secondary sanctions on foreign companies that did business with those lenders.

For foreign banks, violations could mean losing access to the U.S. market and raise the specter of hefty penalties.