Sep 17, 2021 11:15 UTC
  • Russia, Iran, allies write to UN chief to complain of diplomatic ordeals in US

Six countries have sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, complaining about the United States’ lack of commitment to its obligations and duties as host country of the world body’s headquarters.

According to Press TV, in the joint letter sent on Thursday, Permanent Representatives of Cuba, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nicaragua, Russia, Syria and Venezuela to the UN protested Washington’s ongoing violation of its obligations under the United Nations Headquarters Agreement of 1947, demanding that the case be referred to a tribunal for settlement.

The letter also said the US violation of the norms of international law continue to persist.

In particular, the host country continues to not issue visas in time for our delegates to participate in United Nations events or to work at the permanent missions, it added.

With regard to one delegation’s experience in particular, upon receiving notification of completion of issuance of visas, delegates travel to a third country to collect them, but have to wait 10 to 14 days after arrival due to delays in the process of receiving the visas, it said.

The letter went on to say that in other cases, single-entry visas are issued for a limited period of time or with considerable delay, adding that this practice impedes the effectiveness of participation of our states in the work of the organization and leads to unacceptable hardship for members of our permanent missions who are prevented from visiting their home countries for years, even for humanitarian reasons.

The letter also said there are impediments to obtaining visas for UN officials who are citizens of our countries or for persons who are recruited by the United Nations.

The six countries further pointed to the UN General Assembly resolution 74/195, which has specified “a reasonable and finite period of time” to resolve such issues, urging Guterres to act without delay under section 21 of the Headquarters Agreement, which gives the UN chief the mandate to refer disputes to a tribunal for settlement.

They said the UN, which is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members, should not tolerate coercion and discrimination against a group of its members, adding that the privilege of hosting the United Nations must not be abused.

“We are convinced that the establishment of a neutral arbitration tribunal and its legal conclusions on the scope of its powers and the pressing problems of the day-today life of delegations would be beneficial for the smooth and effective functioning of the UN”, the six countries said.

Iran denounces US unilateral sanctions

In a separate development, Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations office in Geneva called for the US and some of its European allies to be prosecuted for their illegal sanctions against other countries.

Esmaeil Baghaei Hamaneh made the remarks in an address to the 48th regular session of the Human Rights Council on Friday, following a special report on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

"The time has come to prosecute the United States as the main culprit, as well as some European countries, for imposing illegal sanctions against the target countries," he said.

He went on to say that the US has intensified its unilateral sanctions over the past two years despite the coronavirus pandemic, to the point that even Covax, the mechanism for the equitable distribution of vaccines, is not excluded from the negative impacts of those bans.

Hamaneh further said the unilateral sanctions primarily harm innocent people of the target countries and should be considered as crimes against humanity, adding that prosecution should be part of any program to curb the negative effects of sanctions on human rights.

“We agree on the need for a coherent approach to dealing comprehensively with the various aspects of US unilateral sanctions and their negative effects,” he concluded.