December 3, 2023

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‘Any IMF member entitled to emergency funding’

An IMF official says every member of the organization, including Iran, has a right to emergency funding.
A senior official at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says any member of the organization, including Iran, is entitled to receive funds at the time of emergencies while suggesting that political disputes with other members would not matter. 

Jihad Azour, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said on Wednesday that the organization is still assessing Iran’s request for an emergency loan worth $5 billion which the country needs to handle the economic impacts of the new coronavirus pandemic.

“Any member of the fund has the same rights of access to the IMF financing and resources subject to the fund’s rules and approval by the director board,” Azour told Reuters.

The comments come against the backdrop of reports suggesting that the United States is seeking to block Iran’s request for the loan under pretexts that the country would use the financing for purposes other than fighting the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The US government has even refused to lift a series of illegal and unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran since November 2018 to allow the country to access medication and vital medical equipment needed to fight the pandemic.

However, Azour dismissed claims that the IMF may reject Iran’s request for the loan, saying the process to grant the funding has been delayed only because of low level of engagement between the two sides in recent times.

“We have received a request for assistance, and since we have had limited engagement with Iran in recent times, the process of obtaining the information we require to assess the request is taking time,” said the senior IMF official.

Iranian authorities have reiterated on several occasions that as a founding member of the IMF, the country has every right to access the organization’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to receive the funding at the current circumstances.

The loan request submitted in April is a first for Tehran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

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