The EU has pledged €20 million in aid for Iran and Venezuela in their fight against the novel coronavirus, urging the international community to follow suit.
According to Press TV, EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said Monday the bloc is preparing to send 20 million euros' worth of humanitarian aid to Iran and Venezuela in the coming weeks.
Borrell said Tehran and Caracas are both under swinging US sanctions aimed at starving their governments of income.
The US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry have put the Islamic Republic in a difficult situation amid the COVID-19 crisis, he said.
Borrell said shipments of food, medicine and medical equipment to these countries should not be affected by the US sanctions.
It has to be reaffirmed because many believe that if they participate in this kind of humanitarian trade they can be sanctioned, the top diplomat said.
This is not the case, he said, but it has to be reaffirmed in order for everybody to understand that they can participate in this kind of humanitarian help.
He further pointed to Tehran's request for financial help from the International Monetary Fund for its battle against the pandemic, and said Brussels will support this request.
Earlier this month, the Central Bank of Iran asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $5 billion emergency funding to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
On March 12, Abdolnaser Hemmati, the Governor of the Central Bank, said he had written to the IMF’s Head, Kristalina Georgieva, to stress Iran’s “right to benefit from the fund’s $50-billion Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI).”
The IMF has not yet responded to the request, but Iran was sidelined from an initiative by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to coordinate efforts in West Asia and North Africa (MENA) region to fight the coronavirus pandemic last week.
The IMF earlier rejected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's similar request for $5 billion in order to fight the coronavirus pandemic in the Latin American country.
The financial body claimed that the request could not be considered because there was "no clarity" among its 189 member states on who it recognizes as Venezuela’s rightful leader.