Press TV – Iran has been sidelined from an initiative by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to coordinate efforts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Iran’s representative to the IMF said in a tweet on Sunday that his country had not been represented in a meeting held earlier this week via video conference between economy ministers of the MENA region.
Hossein Mirshojeian said that fighting coronavirus as a global pandemic requires international cooperation and countries affected by the infection need the support of the World Bank.
That comes as Iran is the hardest-hit country by coronavirus in the region with more than 21,000 people infected.
Shunning Iran from the initiative comes after Tehran asked IMF for an emergency funding worth $5 billion to shore up its defenses against the virus.
Iran has been under a series of unprecedented sanctions by the United States since November 2018.
That has significantly affected the country’s ability to access protective gear and vital medical equipment needed to confront serious illnesses.
It was not clear whether Iran’s absence from the meeting held by the World Bank and the IMF on coronavirus response had anything to do with the US sanctions.
However, the IMF has yet to respond to Iran’s request for emergency funding despite pledges made by the international body to provide around $50 billion to the countries in MENA region to fight the coronavirus.