U.S. Seeks To Block Iran From Receiving Emergency International Aid

Iran is asking for $5 billion in international loans for battling the coronavirus. But the U.S. State Department says the money may support terrorism.
Posted at 4:50 PM, Apr 10, 2020

The Trump administration wants to block $5 billion in international loan assistance Iran says it needs to battle the coronavirus. 

By April 10, Iran had nearly 70,000 coronavirus cases and more than 4,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins. The country is asking the International Monetary Fund for help. But the U.S. says Iran is an exporter of terrorism — and can't be trusted with the money.

A State Department official told CNN: "The world's leading state sponsor of terrorism is seeking cash to fund its adventurism abroad, not to buy medicine for Iranians." 

Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, called the U.S. efforts to deny assistance an "historic disgrace." Countering the U.S. rhetoric, he characterized any efforts to disrupt coronavirus aid to his country as medical terrorism.

The U.S. has continued to tighten strict economic sanctions on Iran, including seeking to disrupt Iran's ability to sell its oil. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserts that the U.S. isn't sanctioning humanitarian and medical assistance — "things that people need in these difficult times."

Under the IMF's governance, the U.S. holds 17% of voting power. To veto the Iranian aid, it would need to muster 70% support by bringing other countries to its point of view.

The may be unlikely. U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for Iranian sanctions relief due to the pandemic.

And the European Union split with the U.S. last month by giving nearly $22 million in aid to Iran. It also pledged political support for Iran's bid for emergency loans from the IMF.