Iran Seeking $5 Billion from IMF to Fight Coronavirus
The head of Iran’s Central Bank has requested $5 billion from the International Monetary Fund to help finance the country’s efforts at fighting coronavirus. The request was made public on Thursday by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. As of Thursday, Iran was reporting 10,075 cases of coronavirus and 429 deaths, the highest levels outside China. The Islamic Republic is considered the regional epicenter for the pandemic, with nearby nations either blocking entry to Iranian citizens or making cross-border movements difficult. In a tweet, Zarif cited the IMF’s Rapid Financial Instrument, which the organization is making available to countries hard-hit by COVID-19, the name given coronavirus by the World Health Organization. “Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately,” he said. He added that he had appealed to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to pressure the Trump Administration to ease crippling economic sanctions reimposed over Tehran’s nuclear activities, the sanctions being cited by Tehran as hampering its health authorities.