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US senator urges Trump not to block $5 billion IMF loan to Iran

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Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, in a letter has urged President Donald Trump not to block Iran's access to a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis in the country.

“I am disappointed to see reports that your administration intends to block Iran from receiving $5 billion in humanitarian aid from the IMF to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” Senator Feinstein wrote in her letter to the President of the United States.

“Providing these funds to Iran would help it respond more effectively to the disease and mitigate the risk of further destabilization in the region,” she added.

For the first time since 1962, Iran applied for emergency IMF funding in March to help it fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Washington has indicated it will block IMF funding for Iran.

The epidemic has further damaged Iran's economy which was already battered by U.S. sanctions that were reimposed in 2018 after the U.S. withdrew from a landmark deal between Tehran and world powers to curb the country's nuclear program.

Tehran, as well as several countries, the United Nations, some U.S. lawmakers, and human rights groups have urged the United States to ease the sanctions to help Iran respond more effectively to the virus.