Accessibility links

Breaking News

UN's Guterres Calls On Countries To Help Iran Fight Coronavirus Epidemic

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif walks past United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at U.N. Headquarters in New York, July 17, 2017 - FILE PHOTO

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said he is "deeply concerned" about the outbreak of novel coronavirus in Iran and promises U.N.’s support.

Furthermore, he has called on the member states and international organizations to support the Islamic Republic of Iran's efforts in countering coronavirus outbreak.

A spokesman for the U.N. Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, cited the remarks late Thursday in response to the Islamic Republic Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif's letter to Guterres.

"We have received a copy of Zarif's letter," he said, noting that U.N. chief is deeply concerned about the spread of coronavirus in Iran, as Iran is one of the countries severely affected by the virus.

Hours earlier, in a letter to Guterres, Zarif had called for lifting Washington's sanctions imposed on Tehran that he described as a "campaign of economic terrorism."

In his letter, Zarif had also argued that the sanctions were not only crippling the Islamic Republic's oil industry but making it incredibly difficult for Tehran to get the necessary medical supplies needed to contain novel coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Zarif revealed that the Central Bank of Iran had asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $5 million emergency loan to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which has infected more than 11,000 people in Iran and has claimed hundreds of lives so far.

It is for the first time since 1962 that Iran has applied for an IMF loan.

IMF on March 4 announced a $50 billion package aid to fight coronavirus outbreak.

Most of the loan will be interest-free, and countries do not need to have a preexisting program with the IMF to participate, IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, announced March 4.

"We're in an early stage of engagement, but I can assure you that we will act very quickly as requests come," Georgieva said.

However, as the Islamic Republic of Iran is on the blacklist of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) it is not yet known whether Tehran is qualified to apply for the loan.

FATF, a global dirty money watchdog placed Iran on its blacklist last month after the country failed to comply with international anti-terrorism financing norms.

The Islamic Republic authorities have repeatedly claimed that Washington sanctions have made it difficult for Iran to import medicines and medical equipment.

In the meantime, Washington has insisted that its sanctions did not restrict selling humanitarian products, including medical supplies, to the Islamic Republic.