NEW YORK: Iran regained its vote in the UN General Assembly on Friday after the United States enabled Tehran to use funds frozen in South Korea to pay some $16 million it owed to the world body.
Iran lost its vote in the 193-member General Assembly in January because it was more than two years in arrears. It owed more than $65 million, but paid the minimum amount needed to regain its vote.
“Iran has paid the minimum amount due,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said on Friday, confirming Iran could vote again. Iran says $20 billion of its oil revenue has been frozen in countries like South Korea, Iraq and China since 2018 under sanctions imposed by then-US president Donald Trump.
“Illegal US sanctions have not just deprived our people of medicine; they have also prevented Iran from paying our dues in arrears to the UN,” Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi posted on Twitter.
“After more than 6 months of working on it, the UN today announced it has received the funds.”
Iran was able to vote in the General Assembly on Friday to elect five new members of the UN Security Council.
The foreign ministry said that it had proposed to the United Nations that it could use funds frozen in South Korea to pay its dues. It said the world body followed up with the US Treasury Department to get the appropriate approvals.
“The permit was recently issued and the process of withdrawing the membership fee from Iran’s account in the Korean banks and transferring it to the U.N. account in Seoul has been paved, and this payment will be made soon,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said last week.