U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated Washington’s opposition to granting a five-billion-dollar IMF loan to the Islamic Republic of Iran in interviews on April 14.
Earlier on Thursday, April 9, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) had urged President Donald Trump to reverse a reported decision to block an Iranian request from the International Monetary Fund for $5 billion in aid to fight the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking to Tony Katz of The Morning News, Pompeo asserted, "Senator Feinstein’s got that wrong, and the President has talked about this too. We offered humanitarian assistance, real humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people, but we’re not about to send cash to the Ayatollahs."
Even if Washington decided to send money to Iran, Pompeo argued, ayatollahs would not let it go where it should go and pocket it themselves.
"If our mission set is to save lives inside of Iran, to send a bunch of money to the Iranian regime won’t get that money to those people. It’ll be funneled, siphoned off; it’ll be used for corrupt purposes. And so that is the wrong approach to assistance inside of Iran", Pompeo affirmed.
In recent weeks Iran has also pushed for lifting U.S. sanctions, calling it “medical terrorism”. Russia and a few countries have supported Iran’s demand, but Europe has shown lackluster sympathy for Tehran’s position.
The United States has countered the sanction-lifting pressure by arguing that humanitarian trade is not blocked, and Iran has enough money of its own to take care of its needs during the pandemic.
Pompeo noted that the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has billions of dollars at his disposal, reminding, "The ayatollah has got billions of dollars socked away. It is not the case that Iran doesn’t have the capacity, the financial resources, to take care of this problem itself."
Therefore, Pompeo concluded that the United States and the world, including the IMF, ought not to be creating free cash for the Iranian regime which, as he put it, will be used to fund proxy wars across the world, including those in Iraq where American lives are at risk.
Meanwhile, in another interview with Chris Salcedo of The Chris Salcedo Show, KSEV Houston & Newsmax TV, Pompeo insisted on Tuesday that from the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak in Iran, Washington offered humanitarian assistance to Tehran, but was rejected.
Lambasting the Islamic Republic’s response to the deadly outbreak, Pompeo said, "This is a tragedy that has struck the Iranian people. Part of the loss of life that will occur there is a direct result of the regime not having invested in their health care system, but rather having invested in Hizballah and terror campaigns around the world."
Once again, Pompeo asserted that any financial assistance to Tehran will either go to be siphoned off for corruption or end in the hands of the Lebanese Hezbollah, arms merchants and Shi'ite militia in the region.
"We should never, never do anything that would fuel the Iranian regime’s capacity to inflict terror around the world and risk American lives", Pompeo said.
Medicines and medical equipment are exempt from the U.S. sanctions, but some purchases are blocked by the unwillingness of banks to process transactions for fear of incurring large penalties in the United States.
In one of the few instances of aid, Britain, France, and Germany used a special trading mechanism for the first time on March 31 to send medical supplies to Iran in a way that does not violate the sanctions.