March 29, 2023

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Iran set to go bust: President Rouhani makes desperate plea for $5billion IMF loan

And today President Hassan Rouhani pressed harder for a $5 billion emergency International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan – its first request since the overthrow of the Shah and the foundation of the Islamic Republic in 1979. While Iran has the worst reported outbreak in the Middle East with a death toll that lags only Italy, China and Spain, it is spending only a fraction of the amounts its wealthier neighbours are throwing at their economies.
But shut out of international capital markets and facing a further hit to its finances with the collapse in oil prices coming on top of US sanctions, Iran’s economy has been crippled.

Setting out his demands for funds, President Rouhani said the fund would be guilty of discrimination if it withholds the money.

President Rouhani said in a televised cabinet meeting address today: “I urge international organisations to fulfil their duties. We are a member of the IMF.


“There should be no discrimination in giving loans,” adding that such discrimination would be unacceptable.

The coronavirus outbreak has further damaged Iran’s economy, already battered by US sanctions, reimposed since 2018 when Washington exited an agreement to lift them in return for curbs to Iran’s nuclear programme.

To mitigate some of the economic pressure, Iran has delayed business taxes and loan repayments until May and said about 3 million lower-income families without permanent jobs would get handouts of up to six million rials (£324) in four stages.

READ MORE: Oil row: Furious Iran issues warning ahead of OPEC+ meeting

In a tweet on Sunday, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani accused the US of blocking Tehran’s loan request from the IMF.

It comes as Tehran blamed America and its “maximum pressure” policy for restricting Iran’s ability to respond effectively to the virus.

President Rouhani said: “The US sanctions on Iran are economic and medical terrorism … They are in violation of international medical conventions.”

But US officials hit back saying the sanctions do not target medicine for Iran and Washington had offered to help Tehran face the outbreak.

Iran dismissed the offer as ridiculous.

Iran has banned intercity travel and shut non-essential businesses to fight an outbreak that according to official figures has killed 4,003 people and infected 67,286.

President Rouhani also said some businesses will remain closed until further notice, after the authorities announced last week that they will begin to ease a shut-down order from April 11.

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