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Iran dissidents say regime should get ‘not even a penny’ of IMF coronavirus aid

Iranian dissidents are urging the international community not to give Tehran $5 billion in International Monetary Fund aid in response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying it would only serve to fund a “machinery of suppression” in Iran.

“Not even a penny should be given to the regime,” Ali Safavi, who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said during a webinar for reporters. “$5 billion must be prevented from getting to the regime because the mullahs would use this money ... to basically oil their machinery of suppression within Iran and export of terrorism to the region.”

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the Trump administration is planning on blocking the $5 billion request amid concerns that the anti-American regime still has billion-dollar accounts available to it.

Senior officials told the Journal that the loan would allow Tehran to divert the money to its economy – which has been stunted by sanctions imposed as part of the U.S. maximum pressure campaign – or to finance extremist militant groups in the Middle East.

Iranian “officials have a long history of diverting funds allocated for humanitarian goods into their own pockets and to their terrorist proxies,” one of the administration officials told the outlet.

That reported stance has brought opposition from Democrats in Congress.
“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,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wrote in a letter to President Trump. “Providing these funds to Iran would help it respond more effectively to the disease and mitigate the risk of further destabilization in the region.”