April 9, 2020 - 11:35 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The United States is planning to block Iran’s request for a $5 billion emergency International Monetary Fund loan to fight coronavirus, Bloomberg reports.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has billions of dollars stashed away that could be tapped to fight the virus, according to a senior administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations. Iran wouldn’t meet IMF financial transparency requirements regardless, the official said.
The Trump administration says Iran has rebuffed its offers of help. Officials have also pointed to remarks by President Hassan Rouhani that U.S. sanctions haven’t prevented Iran -- one of the worst-hit nations in the pandemic -- from getting the medicine it needs.
Blocking the loan reflects the administration’s belief that some Iranian officials, especially Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, have tried to exploit the pandemic as part of a broader campaign to get U.S. sanctions lifted. Backed by supporters including the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, they argue that Khamenei has at least $300 billion he’s refusing to tap to fight the virus and U.S. sanctions have carve-outs for humanitarian sales to Iran.