News ID: 267484
Published: 0950 GMT April 10, 2020

Rouhani: IMF must fulfill duties without bias against Iran

Rouhani: IMF must fulfill duties without bias against Iran

President Hassan Rouhani urged the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday to fulfill its duties toward all member countries, including Iran, without any bias.

Rouhani made the remark in a phone conversation with Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnaser Hemmati on Thursday, during which the CBI official briefed the president on the measures taken to secure a requested loan from the world body. 
“Under these tough circumstances, the IMF should perform its duty with regard to its international commitments and avoid being swayed by mischievous acts of the enemies of the Iranian nation,” Rouhani said. 
Hemmati said Iran’s request was being presented to the IMF’s executive board, and that Tehran was intent to pursue the demand. 
Iran has submitted a request for a $5-billion emergency loan, which it requires to fight the new coronavirus outbreak in the country. Tehran has asked that the loan be provided under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), a mechanism which is available to all member countries facing an urgent balance of payment need. 
“We expect the IMF to immediately respond to the request of Iran which itself is a founding member of the Fund,” the CBI chief said in a post on his Instagram page earlier in the day. 
The chief banker said he had sent a letter to IMF president on Wednesday to emphasize the issue and to reiterate that Iran needs the funding to finance the fight against the pandemic. 
Media reports have suggested over the past weeks that the United States government, which, itself, is refusing to lift its sanctions against the Islamic Republic despite the outbreak, is also trying to hamper Iran’s efforts to get the emergency funding. Washington has allegedly claimed that Tehran might use the funds to compensate the losses that are brought about by the bans. 
Speaking to Rouhani, Hemmati also reported on the measures taken by the CBI to gain access to its resources that are deposited in overseas banks, so that it can meet the nation’s needs, especially concerning the items that are required for the fight against the new coronavirus. 
According to Hemmati, the process has most recently led to the unblocking of $1.6 billion of Iran’s assets that were held by the Luxembourg-based Clearstream, a post-trade service provider. 
On Wednesday, Hemmati had said that the funds were made available after the CBI won a legal battle in Europe against a US attempt to have Iranian funds blocked and handed over to Washington for compensating what Washington calls “victims of terror.” 
Other courts in Europe have previously dismissed claims brought up by American plaintiffs to seize CBI assets to pay for damages suffered over the September 11, 2001 attacks. 
Iran totally denies charges related to any involvement in the 9/11 attacks. 
Iran says any attempts to implicate it in the incidents are a politically-motivated drive by Washington that has conversely been trying to shield Saudi Arabia against any repercussion from the tragedy. 
Death toll rises 
Meanwhile, Iran’s Health Ministry on Friday announced another 122 deaths from the novel coronavirus, taking the overall toll in the Middle East's worst-hit country to 4,232. 
The Health Ministry said 1,972 people tested positive for the COVID-19 virus in the past 24 hours, putting the total at 68,192. 
"In the last 24 hours, we have unfortunately seen an increase in cases of disease in perhaps five to eight tourist provinces, including Tehran," spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour told a televised news conference. 
The announcement comes a day before Iran is scheduled to reopen "low-risk" businesses in a move aimed at protecting its sanctions-hit economy. 
Iran announced its first coronavirus cases on February 19. 
In response to the health crisis, Iran shut schools and universities as well as cinemas, stadiums and revered Shia Muslim shrines. 
It also warned people to refrain from travel for the Persian New Year holidays that ended last week. 
Press TV and AFP contributed to this story.  
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