Barely 24 hours after President Donald Trump called on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to stop lending to Iran, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde firmly said no.
Asked her response to Trump on Iran, Lagarde told reporters Saturday at the IMF/World Bank meetings in Washington that “we operate with 189 members and we only provide support and enter into program negotiations when a country asks for it,” Newsmax reported.
She added that the IMF sees “no reason to change anything in the guidelines that we have received from [its] Board and [will] continue to operate in the same manner.”
“Madame Lagarde handled this diplomatically,” Pradeep Kapur, former Indian ambassador to Chile and a participant in the IMF/World Bank meetings, told Newsmax, “She was recognizing that the US is still the IMF’s largest stakeholder but that the IMF will still maintain its lending policy.”
The response of the managing director was the latest in a string of recent exchanges between the Trump administration and the financial colossus.
Earlier this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney slammed IMF criticism of the president’s plan for lowering tax rates by lumping it with skeptics who “are heavily invested in [lowering US taxes] not working out.”
On Friday, Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin called for the IMF to slim down its salaries and benefits.
“As a public institution – just like the member institutions it monitors and advises – the IMF should serve as a model on budget discipline and efficient use of limited resources,” said Mnuchin, “Achieving this goal will necessarily entail tough choices, potentially with regard to management and staff salaries and benefits.”