Iran seeks financial assistance from IMF for the first time since 1962 to counter coronavirus pandemic

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on March 13, 2020

For the first time since 1962, the Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on Thursday announced on Twitter that the Ministry had written a letter to IMF Chief Kristalina Georgieva seeking a loan to help contain the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the country through IMF’s Rapid Financial Instrument.

The RFI "provides rapid financial assistance, which is available to all member countries facing an urgent balance of payments need," as per IMF’s website.

“IMF's @KGeorgieva has stated that countries affected by #COVID19 will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument. Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately.

IMF/IMF Board should adhere to Fund's mandate, stand on right side of history & act responsibly. Iran’s Central Bank chief Abdolnaser Hemmati wrote on his Instagram page that "in a letter addressed to the head of IMF, I have requested five billion US dollar from the RFI emergency fund to help our fight against the coronavirus." Zarif tweeted.

The efforts by Iran’s medical personnel have been “stymied by vast shortages caused by restrictions” on Iran’s access to medicine/equipment Zarif had further said, referring to US sanctions on Iran.

Iran's Health Minister Abdolnasser Hemmati also took to Instagram to share a letter that he had written to IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva last week seeking financial assistance of “about $5 billion” from the fund.

This is the first time since the Islamic Revolution that the country is seeking assistance from the IMF.

The COVID-19 pandemic has infected over 10,000 people in Iran with the death toll rising to 429, according to media reports.

Published on March 13, 2020

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