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CBI Governor Hopes for Imminent Release of Iran’s Frozen Assets

Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Abdolnasser Hemmati announced on Wednesday that a part of the country’s frozen assets will possibly be released in the near future to help the country in controlling the coronavirus pandemic.

A part of Iran’s assets which had been frozen in certain countries due to the US pressures will possibly be released thanks to the efforts made by the Iranian Foreign Ministry and the CBI, Hemmati told reporters on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday.

He expressed the hope that the released assets would be used for providing basic goods, medicine, medical equipment and fundamental needs to fight against coronavirus.

The CBI is seriously following up procurement of the basic goods and emergency supplies, Hemmati stressed, voicing hope that the country would witness improved economy after defeating coronavirus.

His remarks came amid an outcry on national and international levels against US sanctions, with Russia, China, Pakistan, as well as different medical organizations and rights groups urging the administration of US President Donald Trump to lift sanctions against Iran.

The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting over 180 countries and territories around the world. The virus was first reported in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. It has so far killed more than 19,000 people and infected over 423,000 others globally.

Iran reported on Tuesday that a total number of 1,934 coronavirus patients have died and 24,811 cases of infection have been identified in the country so far. Meanwhile, 8,931 people have also recovered.

The Iranian foreign ministry declared that despite Washington’s claims of cooperation to transfer drugs to Iran via the new Swiss-launched payment mechanism, the US is troubling the process amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Although US claims that medicines and medical equipment are not under sanctions, they have practically blocked the transfer of Iran’s financial resources in other countries into the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Mousavi said.

As the death toll from the virus surges, Iran intensifies its preventive safety measures. Closures of schools and universities have been extended until early April.

The government also imposed travel restrictions, specially on Iran’s north, which is among the red zones. The country has also adopted strict digital health control procedures at airports to spot possible infections.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced earlier this month that a new national mobilization plan would be implemented across the country to fight against the coronavirus epidemic and more effectively treat patients.

Namaki said that the plan will include all the 17,000 health centers and the 9,000 medical and clinical centers in all cities, suburban areas and villages.

He added that the plan will include home quarantine, noting that infected people will receive the necessary medicines and advice, but they are asked to stay at home.

Namaki said that people with a more serious condition will stay at the hospitals, adding that the public places will be disinfected, the entries of infected towns and cities will be controlled to diagnose and quarantine the infected cases.

He added that the necessary equipment and facilities have been provided, expressing the hope that the epidemic would be curbed.

Namaki said that the number of medical laboratories to test coronavirus infection has reached 22, and will increase to 40 soon.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says Iran’s response to the virus has so far been up to the mark. Still, it says the US sanctions are a big challenge, and Washington would be complicit in the rising death toll in Iran if it would not remove its sanctions.

The World Health Organization has considered priorities in combating coronavirus and Islamic Republic of Iran obeys and follows up priorities as defined by WHO.

The WHO is dispatching separate delegations to all countries.

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