Zarif defends Iran’s voting privileges at UNGA

June 9, 2021 - 22:14

TEHRAN – After the UN Secretary-General's threat that Iran will lose its voting rights at the United Nations General Assembly due to the arrears in the payment of its membership fees, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote a letter to the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informing him that the U.S. sanctions have blocked the payment of Iran’s membership fees.

“I am writing to convey our strong dismay over the announcement that the Islamic Republic of Iran will lose its voting privileges in the United Nations General Assembly due to the arrears in the payment of its financial contribution to the United Nations,” Zarif said in the letter. “This decision is fundamentally flawed, entirely unacceptable, and completely unjustified, as Iran's inability to fulfill its financial obligation toward the United Nations is directly caused by unlawful unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States to punish those who comply with a Security Council Resolution.”

Zarif added, “As you, and the whole world, are well aware, the people of Iran have been under the most unprecedented economic warfare – and indeed economic terrorism – following the Trump’s administration’s U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA (shamelessly continued to this day by its successor as so-called ‘bargaining leverage’) in material breach of preemptory norms of international law, the Charter of the United Nations and UNSC resolution 2231.”

He noted, “It is astonishingly absurd that Iranian people, who have been forcibly blocked from transferring their own money and resources to buy food and medicine – let alone pay UN contribution arrears- by a permanent member of the United Nations’ Security Council, are now being punished for not being allowed to pay budget arrears by the secretariat of the same organization, which has unjustifiably chosen for the past 3 years to remain indifferent in the face of attempted mass starvation – a crime against humanity- by the United States. The U.S.’ unlawful acts and war and economic terrorism have impaired Iran’s capacity to transfer our financial contribution to the United Nations and some other international organizations as a direct consequence both of extreme restrictions on Iran’s banking relations with outside world, and of freezing of the Iranian nation’s multi-billion dollars if cash deposits- and not assets or reserves- in South Korea, Japanese, Iraqi, and other banks.”

Zarif noted, “It is deplorable that a United Nations founding member is deprived of its voting right due to conditions totally beyond its control, perpetrated by unlawful unilateral acts of another State. It only emboldens the bullying mentality that did the utmost over the past 4 years to torpedo multilateralism and replace it with extremely selfish and impulsive unilateralism. The United Nations and its general membership must remain true to the purposes and principles of the Charter and refrain from any decision that betrays the spirit of sovereign equality of member States, and weaken multilateralism.”

Earlier this year, Zarif had said Iran has allocated funds for the payment of its dues to the UN but the United States prevented Iran from paying the money.

Commenting on the suspension of Iran’s voting rights at the UN over unpaid membership fees, Zarif told states news IRNA that the dues were the only reason behind the suspension of Iran’s voting rights.

“We should have paid $16 million to settle our debts to the UN and secure our right to vote. The government allocated the fund and urged that the country’s frozen assets in South Korea be used [to pay the debts], but the U.S. blocked the payment to the UN account,” the chief Iranian diplomat said.

Iran had proposed paying its membership fees with its seven billion dollars frozen at two South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions.

“Iran’s latest proposal in this regard was to pay this debt by having the UN use Iran’s seized assets in South Korea with the permission of the central bank, which is being discussed with the UN secretariat and the necessary arrangements are being made,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, had said.

Khatibzadeh also called on the UN to guarantee the transfer of Iran’s unpaid fees through non-American banks.

“Given that the United States has encroached upon Iran’s international assets before, the Islamic Republic of Iran insists that the UN not use an American intermediary bank to receive our country’s membership fee, or that this organization guarantee the financial transfer channel,” he noted.

Leave a Comment

0 + 0 =