Iran making progress in search of new funds to fight coronavirus: Chief banker

Iran making progress in search of new funds to fight coronavirus: Chief banker Iran making progress in search of new funds to fight coronavirus: Chief banker

Iran’s chief banker says efforts for accessing new sources of hard currency to fight the new coronavirus pandemic have borne fruit.

Abdolnasser Hemmati, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), said on Friday that the government had made progress in pressing for the release of its funds that have been blocked abroad because of US sanctions.

In a post on Instagram, Hemmati also suggested that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had given its initial approval for a loan to Iran to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thank God, follow-ups on both cases have yielded positive results,” he said, adding that the CBI and the Iranian Foreign Ministry were closely cooperating to provide the country with new foreign currency resources that could be used to buy drugs and medical equipment to fight the virus outbreak.

Iran has huge amounts of money in foreign bank accounts that have been blocked because of a series of unilateral American sanctions imposed since November 2018.

The country been pressing for the funds to be released at a time they are desperately needed in the country to save lives and contain the new coronavirus outbreak.

The US government has tried to hamper Iran’s efforts to that end, as well as its request for an emergency loan worth $5 billion from the IMF, with certain elements in the US administration claiming that Tehran may use the funds for purposes other than fighting the new coronavirus.

Hemmati denied the claims and described them as “distortion of reality.”

“And this claim that Iran is trying to access cash and not drugs and medical equipment. I should explain that our efforts for removing restrictions on transfer of CBI funds are to ensure the flow of medicine and equipment (into Iran) to fight this pandemic disease,” he said.

More than 32,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Iran of who more than 11,000 have recovered and nearly 2,400 have died, according to figures released by the Iranian Health Ministry on Friday.

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