Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday Iran will soon have parts of funds blocked abroad because of the US sanctions released and return to the country for the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Rabiei said the government would soon announce some good news about unblocking the highly-needed funds.
“There has been some positive progress in unblocking our money,” he said.
“There would be some good news in this regard which will be publicized after the finalization (of unblocking),” Rabiei added.
The announcement comes more than a week after Abdolnaser Hemmati, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran, said that Iran was making progress in securing new sources of funds for the national fight against the new coronavirus.
Hemmati said that coordinated efforts by the CBI and the Iranian Foreign Ministry for unblocking the funds abroad as well as for persuading the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) to accept Iran’s request for an emergency loan had come into fruition.
Rabiei said that Iran’s success to access new hard currency sources was a blow to the United States and its “unethical” policy of refusing to ease the sanctions even at a time of increased pressure on Iran because of a pandemic.
He also dismissed reports suggesting that the IMF had rejected Iran’s request for a $5-billion emergency loan under pressure from the US.
“We have yet to hear anything about rejecting the request for this loan, there has been some statements but whether the fund has made a decision or paid any attention (to those statements), we haven’t heard anything,” said the spokesman.
Iran has not received assistance from the IMF since a "standby credit" issued between 1960 and 1962, according to the fund's data.
According to the IMF website, its Rapid Financial Instrument "is available to all member countries facing an urgent balance of payments need."
On Sunday, Iran’s top security official said the efforts made by the administration of US President Donald Trump to block Tehran’s access to financial and other resources it needs to contain the ongoing pandemic amount to crime against humanity.
“Imposing sanctions [on import of] hygiene items is an illegal measure against human rights and [a sign of] Trump's clear animosity toward the Iranian nation,” Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, tweeted.
“US opposition to International Monetary Fund granting loan to Iran to supply necessary items to fight coronavirus [pandemic] is a real instance of crime against humanity,” he added.
The United States has refused to lift sanctions on Iran and even tightened them several times in recent weeks, making it almost impossible for the Islamic Republic to access life-saving medications and medical equipment necessary in the battle against the deadly new coronavirus pandemic.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said Monday that more than 30 countries as well as a number of international organizations and Iranian expats have provided Iran with assistance in its battle against the outbreak.
In a televised news conference, Mousavi expressed gratitude to those countries and also thanked Iranians overseas for collecting a considerable amount of aid and transferring it to the Islamic Republic through Iran's embassies.
The pandemic, which has afflicted more than 200 countries worldwide so far, resulted in displays of solidarity by the international community and among Iranians, the spokesman said.
Mousavi also expressed sympathy with other countries afflicted by the disease, saying Iran is distraught by their suffering in an apparent reference to the United States.
Certain countries, however, have "tried to fish in troubled waters,” the spokesman said, referring to their attempts to politicize the pandemic.
The Trump administration has defied international calls on Washington to halt its draconian sanctions on Tehran and instead intensified them as part of its "maximum pressure" campaign.
Iran won’t ask for US help
Mousavi said Iran will never ask the United States for help in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak.
“Iran has never asked and will not ask America to help Tehran in its fight against the outbreak ... But America should lift all its illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran,” he said.
Iran’s Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has rejected offers from Washington’s for humanitarian assistance.
Tensions between the two countries have been running high since 2018, when US President Donald Trump quit a 2015 agreement that lifted sanctions on Iran in return for curbs to its nuclear program. Washington reimposed sanctions which have weakened the Iranian economy.
Iranian authorities say US sanctions have hampered their efforts to curb the outbreak, urging other countries and the United Nations to call on the United States to lift them.
“They (the US) are trying to force Tehran to accept negotiations with America,” Mousavi said.
He called on “independent and civilized nations” not to follow the United States’ “illegal, oppressive, and baseless” sanctions.
Mousavi pointed to the International Court of Justice's ruling in 2018 that obliged the US to lift its sanctions on humanitarian supplies and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s letter to the United Nations and his counterparts last month, urging them to ignore the coercive measures.
The Iranian government and nation, Mousavi said, are not optimistic that the US would eventually relieve the measures.
The “bullying character” of American leaders rules out any such prospect, he said, adding US officials are making up every excuse in their book to retain the sanctions.
“We have no hope in their good; at least they should spare us their evil and let Iran take its own measures," Mousavi said.
Press TV, Reuters and AFP contributed to this story.