Tehran, April 6 (IANS) The US obstructing a loan by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Iran to help the country fight the cronavirus pandemic amounts to “crimes against humanity”, a top Iranian official said.

The US opposition to “the IMF’s granting a loan to Iran to provide the necessary equipment to fight the coronavirus outbreak is a real instance of crimes against humanity”, Xinhua news agency quoted Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani as saying in a tweet on Sunday.

He said that sanctioning medical items was “an illegal act, an anti-human rights move, and (US President Donald) Trump’s open animosity with Iranian people”.

On March 12, it was announced here that the Central Bank of Iran had asked the IMF for a $5 billion emergency funding to combat the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, the worst-affected in the Middle Eastern region.

A Health Ministry spokesman said on Sunday that the death toll in Iran from COVID-19 has increased to 3,603, with a total of 58,226 infected people.

The surge in the death toll came after 150 people died in the past 24 hours.

“Fortunately, the recovery process has accelerated and so far 22,011 patients have recovered and been discharged,” Press TV quoted the spokesman as saying.

–IANS

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