Tehran Times – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to defy U.S. resistance and grant the country the $5 billion loan which Iran requested to relieve the economic pressure caused by the pandemic.
“We’re hoping the IMF board won’t remain under U.S. pressure and will live up to its commitments to all countries,” Rouhani said in a statement shown on state TV.
The president said the U.S. is still blocking Iran’s loan application.
Fighting the coronavirus outbreak in the country, in March, Iran asked IMF for an emergency loan to help it contain the pandemic and lessen its economic consequences.
In a letter to IMF in early March, Central Bank of Iran (CBI)’s Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati requested $5 billion from the Fund’s Rapid Financing Initiative (RFI), an emergency program that gives loans to countries facing with sudden shocks such as natural disasters.
Although this was Tehran’s first request for an IMF loan in nearly six decades, it raised opposition from the U.S. as the senior officials in the Trump administration said Iran’s government has billion-dollar accounts still at its disposal. The United States said it plans to block Iran’s request.
The U.S. reaction was seriously blamed by the Iranian officials, saying that the United States has no right to prevent the International Monetary Fund from giving loan to Iran.
Later on April 9, Hemmati wrote on his Instagram page, “We expect the IMF to immediately respond to the request of Iran which itself is a founding member of the fund.”
The same day, President Rouhani said that the IMF must fulfill its duties unbiasedly.
Also, government spokesperson Ali Rabiei said in a press conference on April 13, “From the legal point of view, the United States is not in the position to obstruct the legal performance of institutions and international organizations”.
Iranian officials are in fact urging the International Monetary Fund to put politics aside and do its professional duties in regard to Iran’s requests for financial aid during crises, especially in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an interview conducted by Bloomberg and published on April 19, Hemmati said, “We have not asked the United States for help! We have asked the IMF for support: an international, apolitical institution affiliated with the UN, and for which, we were one of the founder members and contributors over the past 75 years. The United States is a member of the IMF as all 190 or so other countries. The last time I checked, the United States is not running the IMF, and the management and the Board of Governors are those who oversee the work and ensure that the IMF delivers on its mandate. But I would like to repeat that all UN organizations say the IMF or WHO, should stay away from politics and deliver on their institutional mandates.”
The U.S. approach toward Iran’s request also evoked reactions from other countries, as they strongly blamed this stance.