UNITED NATIONS — Iran has paid off some $16.2 million in arrears it owed to the United Nations, allowing it to regain voting rights and participate in the General Assembly’s selection of five new members for the Security Council for 2022-2023 on Friday, diplomats said Friday.
“After more than 6 months of working on it, the UN today announced it has received the funds,” said Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht Ravanchi, on Twitter.
He blamed “illegal US sanctions” for the delay in settling the debts, saying they had “not just deprived our people of medicine; they have also prevented Iran from paying our dues in arrears to the UN.”
That led to the suspension of Iran’s voting rights at the world body back in January.
“ALL inhumane sanctions must be lifted NOW,” the Iranian diplomat added.
A UN official said the funds came mainly from an Iranian account based in Seoul, whose transactions had been blocked by US sanctions. Discussions had been underway for several months between the UN, Iran, South Korea and the US to obtain the release of this particular Iranian account in Seoul so that Tehran could settle its debt.
The restoration of its voting rights allowed Iran to vote in the General Assembly on Friday in the election of five new non-permanent members to the Security Council. The United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Albania, Gabon and Ghana were candidates for the five vacancies and won them.
The reestablishment of US economic sanctions against Iran came after former US president Donald Trump’s decision to unilaterally withdraw in 2018 from the international Iran nuclear agreement, concluded three years earlier in Vienna and backed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
Negotiations are underway in the Austrian capital on how to lift the sanctions re-imposed by Washington against Tehran since then, in exchange for Tehran’s return to full compliance with the agreement.
A new round of indirect talks was set to begin Saturday.