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Iran slams IMF's rejection of application for anti-coronavirus loan

Thursday - April 9, 2020 9:15 am , Category : WORLD
Tehran, April 9 (IANS) Calling it "unacceptable" and "unfair", Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has slammed the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) decision to reject Tehran's application for a loan to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are paying the IMF and the World Bank our share, and part of our reserves are at their disposal," Xinhua news agency quoted Rouhani as saying at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The IMF's behaviour is "discriminatory against us", said Rouhani, adding that "it will not be acceptable to the world public opinion either".
It was announced on March 12 that the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) had asked the IMF for a $5 billion loan to combat the pandemic in Iran, which is the worst-hit country in the Middle East.
However, reports said on Wednesday that the US has blocked Iran's request for the emergency loan.
Many countries and intellectuals in the world have made it clear that the IMF must fulfil its duty, Rouhani said.
"We have not asked the IMF anything over the past 50 years," he said.
"If they do not fulfil their duty under such tough conditions, the world will judge them differently."
Earlier in the day, Mohammad Nahavandian, Iran's Vice President for Economic Affairs, said that the US cannot block Tehran's request for the emergency loan.
Nahavandian said that "no country in the IMF has the right to veto" the loan requests.
"The IMF policy should be fair in assessing and approving loan requests" for its members, Nahavandian was quoted by state TV as saying.
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that the US blocking the loan request amounted to "crimes against humanity".
Also on Wednesday, Barbara Rizzoli, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that the institution was making efforts to create a financial channel for Iran to receive international humanitarian aid for fighting the pandemic.
She also announced the Red Cross' decision to allocate 500,000 Swiss francs (about $515,093) in donation to Iran was the first step to support the country in its fight against COVID-19.
Iran has so far reported 64,586 confirmed coronavirus cases with 3,993 deaths.

--IANS ksk/