In September, Iran re-started repayments of its development loans to the World Bank, and was therefore upgraded from non-performing status to performing status. In line with international economic sanctions, Iran has not been granted any new loans from the Bank since 2005. In the G24 communiqué from the 2013 World Bank and IMF Annual Meetings, the G24 (a grouping of developing countries, including Iran) called for “all countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region [to] have equal opportunities to benefit from the financial products and advisory services of these two international institutions without any political considerations”. Talks between IFI officials and Iran on the side-lines of the annual meetings were impeded due to the sanctions issue. In a speech during the World Bank/IMF annual meetings, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran stated that “unilateral economic sanctions imposed on I.R. Iran, especially in oil and gas sectors, have seriously challenged the fragile global economy and while creating instability and lack of transparency in the markets, have made equal and universal access to these vital commodities inefficient”. Representatives from the Bank and the IMF are expected to visit Iran in November.
In prioritising capital market expansion, the needs of the lowest income groups are not being effectively addressed through World Bank interventions.
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