Iran seeks ‘safe channel’ to pay UN dues to regain voting rights

Tehran lost its vote at the United Nations for the second year in a row as it faced obstacles from U.S. sanctions on payments.

Tehran, Iran – Iran is again trying to find avenues to pay its dues to the United Nations despite U.S. sanctions to restore lost voting rights.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always been committed to paying membership fees on time, and we have demonstrated this in action before,” Iran’s permanent representative to the United Nations, Majid Takht Ravanchi, said late Friday, adding that the country is looking for a A “secure channel” for organizing payments.

“Unfortunately, we faced obstacles to payments the following year, and that was because of brutal U.S. sanctions … the funds were in our accounts abroad, but not available.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced earlier this week that Iran and seven other countries had their voting rights suspended due to arrears.

According to the UN Charter, if a member state owes an amount equal to or more than its dues in the previous two years, its voting rights are suspended until it is paid in full. According to reports, the minimum amount Iran now needs to pay to restore its rights is at least $18 million.

Iran also lost its vote last year when U.S. sanctions prevented it from freezing billions of dollars in funds abroad.

After months of negotiations, the U.S. Treasury Department finally allowed Iran to use a fraction of the roughly $7 billion blocked in South Korea to pay minimum dues. This allows Iran to regain voting rights in time for the election of new members of the Security Council in June.

The United States has imposed sanctions unilaterally since 2018, when President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The landmark deal resulted in the lifting of sanctions rather than restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program.

The West and its regional allies, especially Israel, have accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons — an accusation Tehran has repeatedly denied. It insists its nuclear program is completely peaceful.

Negotiations are now continuing in Vienna to revive the deal, which Tehran hopes will help lift sanctions. U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to revive the deal, but talks have so far been slow due to a war of words between the two adversaries.