1037 GMT October 25, 2020
The Iranian government has decided to provide those suffering from economic hardship due to the new coronavirus spread in the country with financial support, said the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).
Two weeks ago, it was approved by the Money and Credit Council of Iran that those whose businesses are faced with problems due to the spread of the virus can postpone paying their instalments for three months, IRNA reported.
The new virus, a respiratory disease also known as COVID-19, emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province late last year. It has infected more than 180,000 people worldwide and killed over 7,000.
Other measures have been taken to facilitate banking transactions at home in an effort to contain the coronavirus spread in the country, such as raising the ceiling of electronic money transfer through ATMs to $2,380 per day and increasing electronic banking services.
In Iran, the rapid spread of coronavirus has infected some 16,169 people and killed 988, according to official figures released on Tuesday.
He appreciated efforts by the domestic banks’ staff who make sacrifices under the present tough circumstances to provide people with sustainable services, stressing that measures, such as further promotion of telecommuting, have been employed to reduce the infection risk for them.
He stressed that Iran had never asked for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the past 60 years, noting that, “This is among the rights of our country and the smallest step [in the fight against the virus]. We have submitted a request [to the IMF] and are waiting to see what decision those claiming to be promoting justice in the international arena will make and whether US interference would impact the process or not. We are following up the case on a daily basis.”
Iran has huge monetary resources outside the country which are all blocked by the US, Hemmati said, adding since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (started in March 2019), the CBI has supplied $39.2 billion for imports.
In May 2018, President Donald Trump pulled the US out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and the P5+1, and reimposed Washington’s sanctions on Tehran. In the aftermath of the US withdrawal, foreign banks were forced by Washington to freeze Iranian assets.
The sanctions have also hindered the delivery of international humanitarian aid, drugs and medical equipment to Iran amid the country’s efforts to contain the coronavirus spread.
Hemmati noted that since March 2019, Iran has imported basic goods and medical equipment worth $14.8 billion, giving assurance that the country is faced with no problem in terms of meeting the domestic needs.