Iran Asks IMF for $5b in Emergency Funding to Fight Coronavirus
IRAN NEWS NATIONAL DESK
TEHRAN – The Central Bank of Iran has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $5 billion emergency funding to fight a coronavirus pandemic as the number of infections keeps growing in the country.
In an Instagram post on Thursday, Abdulnaser Hemmati, governor of the Central Bank, said he had written to the IMF’s head, Kristalina Georgieva, last week to stress Iran’s “right to benefit from the fund’s $50-billion Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI).”
In the letter, the official highlighted the “widespread prevalence” of the virus — called COVID-19 — inside Iran and the need for the country to take measures to prevent further spread, treat the patients and counteract the economic aftermath of the disease.
“Given the size of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s quota in the fund, it calls for the use of the RFI fast financing facility of around $5 billion,” he added.
In a tweet on Thursday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also called on the IMF to extend support to Iran, who is a member state of the Washington-based lender.
Zarif said the IMF managing director “has stated that countries affected by #COVID19 will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument. Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately.”
IMF’s @KGeorgieva has stated that countries affected by #COVID19 will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument. Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately.
The “IMF/IMF Board should adhere to fund’s mandate, stand on right side of history and act responsibly,” he said.
The outbreak — declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization — first emerged in China and is now spreading fast in other parts of the world.
In a letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Zarif repeated Iran’s demand for U.S. sanctions to be lifted, Iranian media reported.
U.S. officials have said that the sanctions do not target medicine for Iran and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on February 29 that the U.S. had offered to help Tehran face the outbreak. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman reportedly said that any U.S. offer to help Iran in its fight against the coronavirus was “ridiculous”.