TEHRAN, March 22 (Xinhua) -- An Iranian official on Sunday criticized World Bank for failing to invite Iran to a recent regional meeting related to the novel coronavirus outbreak, official IRNA news agency reported.
On Thursday, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East North Africa (MENA), Ferid Belhaj, convened finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting from the MENA region to discuss their needs and the response to COVID-19.
"Unfortunately, Iran was not invited to the meeting. While the containment of the pandemic needs more global cooperation, the affected countries indeed expect unwavering and inclusive support from the World Bank," Iran's representative to World Bank Hossein Mir Shojaian Hosseini was quoted as saying.
On March 12, the Central Bank of Iran applied for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country.
"According to IMF's proclamation and considering the widespread outbreak of the coronavirus in our country, we asked for around 5 billion U.S. dollars from rapid-disbursing emergency financing, considering the Islamic Republic of Iran's quota in the fund," said Abdolnaser Hemmati, Iran's central banker.
Hosseini said on Sunday that Iran is still waiting for the IMF response for the loan application.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also urged the IMF "to adhere to its mandate and act responsibly with regard to those countries affected by novel coronavirus," according to IRNA.
Iran's Health Ministry said on Sunday that a total of 21,638 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus, of whom 1,685 have died.