Pedestrians wearing masks are seen in downtown Tehran, Iran, Feb. 23, 2020. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday issued an order to form a national headquarters to cope with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country, state TV reported. Since Iran announced the first batch cases of the coronavirus in the country on Wednesday, 43 Iranians have been confirmed infected by the virus, eight of whom have died. (Photo by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua)
Pedestrians wearing masks are seen in downtown Tehran, Iran, Feb. 23, 2020. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday issued an order to form a national headquarters to cope with the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the country, state TV reported. Since Iran announced the first batch cases of the coronavirus in the country on Wednesday, 43 Iranians have been confirmed infected by the virus, eight of whom have died. (Photo by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua) Since Iran announced the first batch cases of the coronavirus in the country on Wednesday, 43 Iranians have been confirmed infected by the virus, eight of whom have died. (Photo by Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) rejection of Iran’s application for a loan to fight the novel coronavirus is “unacceptable” and “unfair.”

“We are paying the IMF and the World Bank our share, and part of our reserves are at their disposal,” Rouhani was quoted by the Tasnim news agency as saying at the cabinet meeting.

The IMF behavior is “discriminatory against us,” said Rouhani, adding that “it will not be acceptable to the world public opinion either.”

On March 12, it was announced that the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) had asked the IMF for a loan of 5 billion U.S. dollars to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran, which is the worst-hit country in the Middle East.

However, reports said on Wednesday that the United States has blocked Iran’s request for the emergency loan from the IMF.

Many countries and intellectuals in the world have made it clear that the IMF must fulfill its duty, Rouhani said.

“We have not asked the IMF anything over the past 50 years,” he said. “If they do not fulfill their duty under such tough conditions, the world will judge them differently.”

Earlier on the day, Mohammad Nahavandian, Iran’s vice president for economic affairs, said that the United States cannot block Iran’s request for the emergency loan.

Nahavandian said that “no country in the IMF has the right to veto” the loan requests.

“The IMF policy should be fair in assessing and approving loan requests” for its members, Nahavandian was quoted by state TV as saying.

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said that the U.S. blocking of Iran’s loan request amounted to “crimes against humanity.”

“U.S. opposing IMF’s granting a loan to Iran to provide the necessary equipment to fight the coronavirus outbreak is real instance of crimes against humanity,” Shamkhani tweeted.

He said that sanctioning medical items is “an illegal act, an anti-human rights move, and (U.S. President Donald) Trump’s open animosity with Iranian people.”

Abdolnaser Hemmati, governor of the Central Bank of Iran, has said that the IMF’s response will be a litmus test for its claims about providing relief aid for containing the disease.

Also on Wednesday, Barbara Rizzoli, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that the institution is making efforts to create a financial channel for Iran to receive international humanitarian aid for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rizzoli made the remarks in a meeting with Karim Hemmati, head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society.

She also announced the Red Cross’ decision to allocate 500,000 Swiss francs (about 515,093 U.S. dollars) in donation to Iran as the first step to support the country in its fight against COVID-19. Enditem

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