The Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced that, in a letter to International Monetary Fund (IMF), he has required permission for access to the fund’s available $50-billion-emergency financing facilities, aimed at addressing COVID-19.
In his letter, Abdolnaser Hemmati underlined that no human body must be deprived of medicine or medical facilities due to the dearth of financial resources.
On March 4, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at Joint Press Conference with World Bank Group President David Malpass announced that the IMF is making available about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support. Of this, $10 billion is available at zero interest for the poorest members through the Rapid Credit Facility, she informed.
We know that the disease is spreading quickly. With over one-third of our membership affected directly, this is no longer a regional issue – it is a global problem calling for a global response. We also know that it will eventually retreat, but we don’t know how fast this will happen, she said.
Thanks to the generosity of our shareholders, we have about $1 trillion in overall lending capacity. For low-income countries, we have rapid-disbursing emergency financing of up to $10 billion (50 percent of quota of eligible members) that can be accessed without a full-fledged IMF program. Other members can access emergency financing through the Rapid Financing Instrument. This facility could provide about $40 billion for emerging markets that could potentially approach us for financial support, she added.
Iran is grappling with the lethal coronavirus amid the toughest US-led sanctions which impede the country from having access to its international financial resources.
Iranian officials have repeatedly announced the sanctions as a clear violation of the right to health and the right to life.
On March 7, Iranian Parliament Speaker’s Special Aide for International Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian lamented that despite US officials’ claims, sanctions on imports of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment to Iran have not been suspended.
The US Treasury does not allow the imports of Iran’s purchased medicine and medical equipment for treating coronavirus patients to the country, he wrote in a tweet.
On March 2, the CBI governor lamented that despite its establishment, Swiss Humanitarian Trade Agreementexternal link (SHTA)- trade agreement supposed to allow companies to send food, medicine and other critical supplies to Iran- has not become operational yet.
Iran’s share from the allocated Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) stands at $5 billion.