Iran to regain UN vote after dues paid with frozen funds

January 23, 2022 - 21:31

TEHRAN — Iran is expected to regain its vote in the United Nations General Assembly after South Korea paid Tehran’s delinquent dues to the United Nations with Iranian funds frozen in the country, Seoul says.

Sunday’s announcement echoed a similar situation where Iran regained its UN voting rights in June 2021 after it managed to make the payment on its debts.

Earlier this month, however, Iran announced that U.S. sanctions had impeded its ability to pay for the second year in a row.

Any release of Iran’s frozen funds requires the approval of the United States.

In 2018, then-president Donald Trump took Washington out of the 2015 nuclear deal - JCPOA -, and re-imposed sanctions on Iran. Iran later Seoul “on Friday completed the payment of Iran’s United Nations dues of about $18 million through the Iranian frozen funds in South Korea, in active cooperation with related agencies such as U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the United Nations Secretariat,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

“Iran’s right to vote at the General Assembly is expected to be restored immediately with the payment,” the ministry added.

Iran urgently asked South Korea last week to help pay the UN contribution with the frozen funds on concerns of the loss of its right to vote in the 193-member General Assembly, the South Korean ministry said.

Tehran has repeatedly demanded the release of about $7bn of its funds frozen in South Korean banks because of U.S. sanctions, saying Seoul was holding the money “hostage”.

A South Korean finance ministry official declined to say how much of the Iranian frozen funds remain after this payment of UN dues and another release last year, citing confidentiality laws.

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