EghtesadOnline: OPEC Fund for International Development has approved $500,000 in emergency grant to purchase and distribute medical equipment needed for combating COVID-19 in Iran.
The grant is set to be channeled through World Health Organization, OFID's official tweeter account announced on Wednesday.
In March, Iran's Ministry of Economy sent requests to multilateral development banks for financial and non-financial assistance to control, combat and treat the coronavirus, according to Financial Tribune.
The requests along with a list of goods needed to fight the infectious disease were communicated to the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Development Bank and OPEC Fund for International Development, on Wednesday.
According to the Health Ministry, 53,000 plus people have been diagnosed with the highly contagious virus, up by 1,716 a day earlier. The death toll is north of 3,300.
An estimated 18,000 people have been cured and sent home.
US economic sanctions on Iran are seen as the main impediment in the comprehensive and effective fight against the deadly disease known as COVID-19.
Tehran has urged the international community not to recognize the unilateral and illegal US penalties.
Washington imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran in 2018 after it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal. The purpose of its so-called “maximum pressure” campaign is to force Iran to renegotiate a new deal covering more areas of Iran's activities.
In March Iran informed the International Monetary Fund that it was seeking $5 billion in emergency loans to help contain the contagious virus and mitigate its effects on the already struggling economy.
Last week, lawmaker Alireza Rahimi said that the IMF had approved a considerable portion of the sum. He did not provide details.
The IMF has confirmed that it is in talks with Iranian authorities after the loan request.
According to Reuters, the IMF is in talks to understand Iran’s needs and what is required for Iran’s demand to be processed, Jihad Azour, director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said during a virtual panel discussion moderated by the Carnegie Middle East Center.
The fund announced earlier that it had made available about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support.
The Central Bank of Iran has said it has plans to extend more than $4.5 billion in cheap loans to businesses impacted by the rapidly spreading virus.