Iran goes to IMF for first time since 1960s and scraps new year events in face of pandemic

Iran goes to IMF for first time since 1960s and scraps new year events in face of pandemic
The number of COVID-19 infections in Iran now stands at more than 10,000.
By bne IntelIiNews March 12, 2020

Iran on March 12 went to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to request assistance for the first time since the 1960s and cancelled all Persian new year Nowruz events as the coronavirus pandemic continued to take a terrible toll on the country.

Tehran applied for $5bn from the IMF to help counter the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the Central Bank of Iran confirmed. There appeared to be some doubt among analysts as to whether the Iranian government, under US sanctions, is eligible to apply for emergency funding from the Fund.

Iran is suffering the world’s third worst coronavirus outbreak, with only China and Italy faring worse. By the end of March 12 it had recorded 10,075 CORVID-19 infections and 429 deaths.

Earlier, the World Bank and Fund jointly announced their readiness to support countries with economies impacted by the pandemic.

“We are proceeding expeditiously with all requests in line with our policies. I would expect to have more specificity on that in coming days,” Gerry Rice, a spokesman at the Fund, said in a briefing in Washington.

Iran’s economy has been battered by US sanctions since mid-2018 and the coronavirus economic shock and the oil price collapse sparked this week by a dispute over desired production levels between Russia and Saudi Arabia come as terrible blows at this juncture in time.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s top diplomat, stated on his Twitter page that the Iranian central bank has requested access to IMF funds designed to help fight the coronavirus.

12, 2020