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Iran Seeks Help from Int’l Banks to Fight Coronavirus

Iran Seeks Help from Int’l Banks to Fight CoronavirusIran Seeks Help from Int’l Banks to Fight Coronavirus

The Ministry of Economy has sent requests to multilateral development banks, in which Iran is a member, for financial and non-financial assistance for controlling, combating and treating the coronavirus.
According to a press release on the ministry's websites, the requests along with a list of goods needed to fight the infectious disease were communicated to the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Development Bank and OPEC Fund for International Development, on Wednesday.
Health Ministry spokesman in Tehran Kianoush Jahanpour said Saturday the number of new coronavirus cases reached 12,729 cases and the death toll rose to 611 since the viral outbreak three weeks ago.
The respiratory illness has spread to all 31 provinces in Iran, with the northern and central provinces among the worst affected regions.
Fears over infectious disease have shuttered businesses, forced others to work below capacity, order staff to work from home or send workers home on unpaid leave.
Referring to development banks' emergency plans to help prevent the spread of the virus and the fact that Iran has been hit the hardest by the disease in the Middle East, the ministry said it expects the lenders to respond urgently.
World Bank has made available an initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support to assist countries coping with the health and economic impacts of the global outbreak.
The IDB said it is ready to extend all possible support to address the threat caused by COVID-19 and help address the challenges of containing the spread. "IDB  is committed to supporting members countries with necessary resources in the short, medium and long-term."

 

Plan of Action

Tehran’s move is a part of its comprehensive plan of action to provide its medical community with necessary equipment and resources to fight rapidly spreading virus.
On Friday, the Central Bank of Iran said it has asked the International Monetary Fund for $5 billion in emergency loans to help contain the deadly virus and mitigate its effects on the already struggling economy.
IMF spokesman Gerry Rice confirmed it had received a loan request from Iran. He said the IMF is “proceeding expeditiously with all requests and in line with our policies”.
The fund announced earlier that it had made available about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support.
The CBI expressed the hope that the IMF will uphold its responsibility, noting that the “international community and the IMF’s response to the request could be a good benchmark for weighing their claims about offering assistance for controlling the virus and alleviating the people’s suffering”.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif took to Tweeter Friday, confirming the request was made as soon as IMF boss Kristalina Georgieva announced the financial package for affected countries.
Zarif called on the UN to lobby the US to remove the sanctions regime, which has hampered Tehran’s ability to fight the outbreak.
In a letter to António Guterres, the UN secretary-general, he said the sanctions had created “serious obstacles” in the country’s efforts to import medical equipment and contain the spread of the illness.
Though food and medical supplies are not directly targeted by the sanctions, the US measures mean Iran is struggling with shrinking foreign revenues and is cut off from the global banking system, making it difficult to import many goods.   
Abbas Mousavi, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, said Saturday that Iran has so far received financial and medical aid from China, Turkey, the UAE, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, Azerbaijan and Russia.

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