Iran presses IMF for swift processing of loan request

Iranian authorities have called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to accelerate processing Tehran’s request for an emergency loan which requires fighting a pandemic.

The governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati said on Thursday that the IMF is expected to consider Iran’s request for a $5 billion loan under its Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), a mechanism which is available to all member countries facing an urgent balance of payments need.

“We expect the IMF to immediately respond to the request of Iran which itself is a founding member of the Fund,” said Hemmati in a post on his Instagram page.

The chief banker said he had sent a letter to IMF president on Wednesday to emphasize the issue and to reiterate that Iran needs the funding to finance a current nationwide fight against the new coronavirus pandemic.

That comes as reports in the media over the past weeks have suggested that the United States government is trying to hamper Iran’s efforts to get the emergency funding under the pretext that Tehran might use the funds to compensate the losses created as a result of the US sanctions.

Hemmati expressed hope that the IMF would think about its position as a prestigious financial institution in the world and does not allow Washington to try to tarnish the image of the organization in the current “historic” situation.

Iran, the hardest-hit country by the new coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East, has been almost on its own fighting the disease as sanctions have seriously hampered its access to drugs and vital medical equipment needed to contain the virus.

More than 66,000 people have been tested positive for the COVID-19 disease since it was spotted in Iran on February 19. More than 32,000 people have recovered while over 4,100 have died of the illness, according to figures provided by the Iranian health ministry on Thursday.

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