Iran regains UN voting power after membership dues paid
Iran’s right to vote at the UN General Assembly has been restored after its membership dues were paid to the world body, according to the Islamic Republic’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations (UN).
Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the announcement late on Saturday, saying Iran's arrears have been paid to the United Nations and the country's voting right should naturally restore at the beginning of the week as soon as the dues are cleared in New York.
According to Press TV, South Korea confirmed on Sunday that it has paid Tehran’s delinquent dues to the UN with Iranian funds frozen in the country.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as an active member of the United Nations, has always been committed to paying its membership dues on time and we have proven this in action,” the ambassador said.
“Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, we faced the problem of paying our membership fee due to the imposition of brutal and unilateral US sanctions against Iran,” he added.
The United States re-imposed its draconian sanctions against Iran after the administration of former President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 international nuclear agreement.
The Iranian envoy stressed that the US sanctions have not only affected the supply of medicine, medical equipment, and humanitarian items but have also disrupted the work of the UN.
Earlier in the month, Takht-Ravanchi blamed the cruel and unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States for Iran’s failure to make the payment on its arrears to the world body, but expressed hope that the suspension of the country’s voting right would end soon.
The Iranian envoy further noted that the Islamic Republic is working to secure a safe financial channel to pay its UN membership fee and reclaim its right to vote on various matters at the UN General Assembly and the Security Council.
South Korea said on Sunday it used US$18 million of frozen Iranian assets to pay Tehran’s dues to the UN, in a move to immediately restore the country’s voting power.
South Korea’s Finance Ministry said in a statement that the payment was made Friday in cooperation with the US and the UN after Iran made an “emergency request” to South Korea to pay the dues.
"Iran's voting right at the UN General Assembly is expected to be immediately restored with the payment," the Ministry added.
South Korea owes Iran more than $8 billion for gas condensate imports from the country but has so far refused to pay it. South Korea sees unilateral sanctions and the so-called US maximum pressure as an impediment to paying off its debt. The issue has been criticized multiple times by Iranian officials.
Iranian authorities have repeatedly said they expect South Korea to do more on the release of the assets blocked illegally at two South Korean banks under the pretext of the United States’ sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Tehran has been returning Seoul’s refusal to cooperate in repayment of the debts by exercising restrictions on imports from South Korea. Tehran has warned the case could negatively impact bilateral ties.