The Iran Project

Iran paying UN membership fee despite US sanctions, says FM spox

Iran has regularly paid its UN membership contributions in the past years in spite of the unilateral sanctions imposed by the US which have made financial transactions difficult for Tehran, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

“Despite restrictions caused by the United States’ unilateral sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran has, in recent years, always paid its UN membership fee using the few financial transfer channels available to it,” Khatibzadeh said on Sunday.

“This year, too, as the US blocked channels available to transfer financial resources, Iran has been in talks with the UN Treasury since long ago in order for the world body to introduce a safe channel,” he added.

“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,” he added.

“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,” the spokesman noted.

Under Article 19 of the UN Charter, a member state in arrears in the payment of its dues in an amount that equals or exceeds the contributions due for two preceding years can lose its vote in the General Assembly.

According to a statement by the UN General Assembly, as of 13 January 2021, ten member states are subject to the provisions of Article 19 of the Charter, which include Iran, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Libya, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Following the General Assembly’s announcement, UN Secretary General António Guterres wrote a letter to the rotational head of the Assembly, noting that the aforementioned 10 countries have lost their right to vote at the General Assembly meetings on a temporary basis. He said Iran owes over $16 million in UN arrears.

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