The European Union has censured the United States for refusing to ease sanctions on the Islamic Republic and blocking an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan to Iran to help it fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We supported first to soften the sanctions and second, the request by Iran to the International Monetary Fund for financial help,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told a virtual news conference after a video conference of EU foreign ministers on Wednesday.
“I regret that the Americans are, at this stage, opposing the International Monetary Fund from taking this decision. From a humanitarian point of view, this request should have been accepted,” he added.
Last month, Iran asked the IMF for $5 billion in emergency funding to assist its measures seeking to counter the spread of the coronavirus.
However, Washington has moved to block Iran’s request for the loan, according to various reports.
Citing IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in March that countries affected by the coronavirus pandemic were entitled to the emergency funding.
IMF/IMF Board should adhere to Fund's mandate, stand on right side of history & act responsibly.
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 12, 2020
The development comes as Washington has sought to wage a so-called “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran by imposing crippling sanctions on the country after withdrawing from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran in 2018.
The sanctions target much-need humanitarian aid and related finances despite an International Court of Justice ruling banning Washington’s aid-related sanctions against Iran in 2018.