IMF managing director Christine Laguarde
IMF managing director Christine LaguardeReuters

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has refused to cut its ties with Iran's central bank. The Islamic Republic maintains membership in the IMF, said the fiscal institution, thus making it impossible to sever relations with Iran's Bank Markazi.

A group of U.S. ex-diplomats and government officials calling itself “United Against Nuclear Iran” (UANI) called on IMF to suspend Iran's membership and sever its ties with the bank. The group is headed by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Wallace.

In a statement issued this week, the  advocacy group said, “The IMF must also stop treating the Iranian regime like a responsible government in good standing at a time when the international community is trying to isolate it.”

The group charged that U.S. and EU sanctions targeting Iran are being undercut by the actions of the IMF. Spokesman William Murray responded that the Fund's 188 member nations would have to determine whether Iran's membership should be suspended. “We have no comment,” he said.

The agency is headed by recently-installed managing director Christine Laguarde. Bank of Israel governor Stanley Fischer lost a bid for the top spot at IMF to Laguarde due to his age; the ceiling for applicants is age 65, and Fisher is 67.