US to block emergency COVID-19 IMF loan for Iran

The United States opposes Iran’s $5 billion emergency loan request from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help it cope with the coronavirus pandemic amid US illegal sanctions, a US State Department spokesperson said.

Iran Press/America: According to many reports, The US plans to block Iran’s requested $5 billion emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund to fight coronavirus crisis.

The war against the coronavirus pandemic is literally a life and death fight for nations. However, Iran is waging it with an economy affected by United States sanctions that have Tehran bereft of its financial resources to mount an effective public health response.

For the first time in six decades, Iran has requested a loan from the IMF to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

While the EU has said it will support Iran's request for help from the IMF, the US is the Fund's largest shareholder, which effectively gives Washington veto power over any lending decisions.

Now a US State Department spokesperson in an interview with Al-Monitor explicitly said that Washington is opposed to the Iran's loan.

The spokesperson said that the emergency COVID-19 IMF loan to Iran become a US presidential campaign issue.

“Iran sanctions are quickly becoming a presidential campaign issue, with Vice President Joe Biden — the likely Democratic presidential nominee — calling on the Trump administration to expand humanitarian exemptions within the US sanctions regime to help fight COVID-19. His primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders, wants the Trump administration to go even further and lift all financial sanctions on Iran amid the coronavirus pandemic,” a US State Department spokesperson told Al-Monitor.

The spokesperson added: The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani, accused the United States over the weekend of using its influence within the IMF to stall the loan request. The United States has by far the largest number of shares within the IMF, giving it 16.5% of the body’s total votes. Conversely, the European Union has come out in favor of the loan.

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Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on April 5 in a tweet said that the US opposition to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) emergency loan to Iran to fight coronavirus is a real example of crime against humanity.

Meanwhile, Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohammad Nahavandian said on Tuesday (April 7) that no country, including the US, has the right to veto Iran's request for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

In a video talk with CNN's Christian Amanpour on Tuesday, he added that IMF's policy is to act fairly in assessing and approving loan applications.

Dismissing rumors that Iran's loan application had been rejected, the vice president said that Iran's request is under consideration and many countries have supported it.

Referring to US sanctions' adverse impacts on Iran's fight against coronavirus, he said that in Iran, the problems in battling the virus are twofold, and the reason is the imposition of additional transaction costs. The US claim that sanctions do not include food and medicine is wrong.

Last month, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) asked the IMF for $5 billion emergency funding to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Under the US sanctions and pressure, billions of dollars of Iran’s oil money and other funds are held up in several countries at a time when they are urgently needed to fight the novel coronavirus.


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