The United Nations said on Thursday it had suspended the voting rights of Iran and four smaller countries for non-payment of budget contributions. In a letter sent on Wednesday to General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, UN chief António Guterres said that Iran would have to pay at least $16,251,298 to have its voting rights restored.
President of the General Assembly that Iran and four African countries (Central African Republic, Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia) had exceeded the delinquency limit set out in Article 19 of the UN Charter. This article states that any member in debt for the previous two years is not allowed to vote in the General Assembly. The Central African Republic would have to pay 29,395 dollars to regain its voting rights, according to the letter.
Guterres' spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said such letters are routinely transmitted when any member reaches the two-year limit. The assessments are calculated using a complex formula based in part on a country's economic size. In early 2020, for example, Venezuela, Yemen, and Lebanon were among the countries that temporarily lost voting rights.
Iran has reacted angrily, calling the measure "astonishingly absurd" and blaming the US for sanctions that had frozen Iranian funds in banks around the world.
These events have taken place in the middle of negotiations between the US and Iran to restore Washington and Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal. Former US president Donald Trump repudiated that deal three years ago, reinstating the economic sanctions that the agreement had lifted. Iran responded by re-engaging in uranium enrichment and other actions that had been restricted under the deal's terms. President Biden has said he wants to rejoin the nuclear deal, but Iran has pointed out that the US must remove its sanctions in verifiable ways before Iran will return to compliance.
According to a statement by the UN General Assembly, on January 13, 2021, ten Member States were subject to the provisions of Article 19 of the Charter, including Iran, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo, Libya, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe. In January of this year, Guterres wrote to the rotating president of the UN General Assembly, stating that the 10 countries mentioned above have temporarily lost their voting rights in the UN General Assembly. He said Iran owes the UN more than $16 million in arrears.
Le porte-parole du ministère iranien des affaires étrangères, Said Khatibzaed, avait alors déclaré que, bien que les États-Unis aient imposé des sanctions unilatérales à Téhéran et entravé les transactions, le pays avait payé régulièrement ses cotisations en tant que membre des Nations unies ces dernières années.
Il a ajouté que la dernière proposition de l'Iran à l'ONU à cet égard consistait à utiliser les avoirs gelés du pays en Corée du Sud pour régler les arriérés de Téhéran. Un responsable du ministère sud-coréen des Affaires étrangères a déclaré fin février que la Corée du Sud finalisait les négociations avec les États-Unis en vue d'utiliser certains de ses avoirs gelés dans des pays d'Asie de l'Est pour payer l'Iran en tant que membre du Congrès des Nations unies.