Zarif: US Impeding Payment of Iran’s UN Membership Fees

Zarif: US Impeding Payment of Iran’s UN Membership Fees

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif lashed out at the US for blocking Tehran’s payment of its overdue UN membership contributions.

Zarif said on Friday that Iran’s unpaid membership contributions are the only reason the UN General Assembly has stripped the country of its right to vote.

“We should have paid $16 million to settle our debts to the UN and secure our right to vote. The government allocated the fund, and urged that the country’s frozen assets in South Korea be used (to pay the debts), but the US blocked the payment to the UN account,” the foreign minister said in an interview with IRNA.

In comments on January 17, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh said 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.

“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, adding, “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.”

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.