Tehran has lost its right to vote at the UN for the second straight year as it faces obstacles in making payments due to US sanctions.
Tehran, Iran – Iran is once again trying to find channels to pay its UN dues despite US sanctions to regain its lost voting rights.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always been committed to paying its membership on time and we have already shown it in action,” said Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s permanent representative to the UN, on Friday evening, adding that the country was looking for a “safe channel” to make its payment to the organization.
“Unfortunately, for a second year, we are experiencing obstacles in making our payments and it is because of the cruel US sanctions…the funds are there in our overseas accounts but cannot be accessed.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced earlier this week that Iran and seven other countries had had their voting rights suspended for delay.
Under the UN charter, if a member country’s arrears equal or exceed the amount of dues it should have paid in the previous two years, its voting rights are suspended until payment. The minimum amount Iran must pay now to restore its rights would be at least $18 million.
Iran also lost its right to vote last year when US sanctions barred it from accessing its billions of dollars in cash frozen abroad.
After months of negotiations, the US Treasury finally allowed access to a small portion of Iran’s estimated $7 billion stranded in South Korea to pay minimum dues. This allowed Iran to regain its vote in time for the June election of new members of the Security Council.
US sanctions have been imposed unilaterally since 2018, when President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. The landmark deal led to the lifting of sanctions instead of curbing Iran’s nuclear program.
The West and its regional allies, particularly Israel, have accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons – a charge Tehran has repeatedly denied. He insists that his nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
For the moment, negotiations are continuing in Vienna to restore the agreement, which Tehran hopes will help lift the sanctions. US President Joe Biden had promised to reinstate the deal, but talks have so far been slow amid a war of words between the two adversaries.