Tehran, Iran – Iran is once more trying to find channels to pay its dues to the United Nations despite sanctions by the United States to regain its lost voting rights.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always been committed to pay for its membership on time and we have shown this in action before,” Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s permanent representative to the UN, said late on Friday, adding that the country is looking for a “safe channel” to make its payment to the organisation.
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“Unfortunately, for a second year we are facing hurdles in making our payments and that is because of the cruel US sanctions … the funds are there in our accounts abroad but can’t be accessed.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced earlier this week that Iran and seven other countries have had their voting rights suspended over late dues.
Under the UN charter, if a member country’s arrears are equal to or exceed the amount of dues it should have paid over the preceding two years, its voting rights are suspended until payment is made. The minimum figure Iran needs to pay now to restore its rights reportedly amounts to at least $18m.
Iran had also lost its voting rights last year when the United States sanctions had prevented access to its billions of dollars of money frozen abroad.
After months of negotiations, the US Treasury ultimately allowed access to a small portion of Iran’s estimated $7bn blocked in South Korea to pay the minimum dues. That allowed Iran to regain its vote in time for the June election of new members of the Security Council.
The US sanctions have been imposed unilaterally since 2018 when President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The landmark deal had led to lifting of sanctions in lieu of curbs on Iran’s nuclear programme.
The West and its regional allies, particularly Israel, have accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons – an accusation Tehran has repeatedly denied. It insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.
At the moment, negotiations are continuing in Vienna to restore the accord, which Tehran hopes will help in the removal of sanctions. US President Joe Biden had promised to restore the deal but talks so far have been slow amid a war of words between the two adversaries.