Iran Health Minister Says Cash Promised for Covid Hasn’t Arrived
Spectators watch an illumination of the coronavirus disease on the Azadi tower designed to show solidarity with the global fight against coronavirus in Tehran, Iran. (Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg)

Iran Health Minister Says Cash Promised for Covid Hasn’t Arrived

Iran’s Health Ministry said it’s received just a small fraction of a promised $1 billion infusion from the country’s sovereign wealth fund to fight the coronavirus.

“For months we have only received a small share of the $1 billion that the Supreme Leader approved from the development fund,” Health Minister Saeed Namaki said, according to the the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency. “I don’t know what they are using it for that could be more important,” Namaki added.

Iran, the worst-hit of Middle East countries, reported a record high 3,712 new cases on Tuesday.

President Hassan Rouhani asked for permission to withdraw the funds from the National Development Fund in March to help meet treatment and equipment costs. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei approved the request the following month, state media reported at the time.

Iran is struggling to parry the impact of the virus while laboring under a tough U.S. sanctions regime that has slashed oil revenue and complicated the import of some medical supplies.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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