These resources are meant to strengthen the response capacities of the health system in the containment of COVID-19, as the system has been heavily battered by illegal U.S. sanctions.
Foreign Ministers of the European Union (EU) supported Monday Iran and Venezuela’s requests for financial aid to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are going to support this request because these countries are in a very difficult situation mainly due to the US sanctions that prevent them from having income by selling their oil,” EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell said at a virtual press conference following a teleconference with EU foreign affairs ministers.
Both countries are under U.S. sanctions and have recently asked the IMF for emergency funding of US$5 billion each. Last week the IMF said it had allocated US$50 billion for countries struggling with the outbreak.
IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has stated that “countries affected by #COVID19 (coronavirus) will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument. Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately”, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet on March 12.
These resources were meant to strengthen the response capacities of the Venezuelan health system in the containment of COVID-19, as the system has been heavily battered by illegal US sanctions.
“We believe in these situations it has to be reaffirmed that humanitarian trade, goods that can be delivered to these countries on a humanitarian level – it means agri-food, medicines and medical stuff – are not on the American sanctions,” the diplomat assured.
Meanwhile, the EU is preparing to send more than US$20 million worth of humanitarian aid to Iran. Borrell said that such support was not in breach of the US sanctions.
As of Monday, Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpoor told state news that the country has confirmed 1,411 new cases of coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of cases to over 23,000. While Venezuela has reported only 77 cases, mainly due to strict quarantine and quick government response.
Edited by JRE