Talks underway in IMF on offering emergency loan to Iran: spox

MNA – A spokesperson in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that talks are underway in the international body on giving Iran the requested $5 billion to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

“We have had some talks with Iranian officials to better understand their request for using emergency funds against coronavirus,” the spokesperson told IRNA on Tuesday on condition of anonymity, adding that negotiations will go on in the coming days.

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, CBI governor Abdolnaser Hemmati 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 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.”

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.

According to the latest announcement on Tuesday, the number of infections in Iran has hit 16,169. 5,389 patients have recovered while 988 others have lost their lives so far.