United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres
The United Nations secretary general says Iran will lose its voting rights in the 193-member General Assembly due to the failure to pay its dues to the UN operating body.
In a Wednesday letter to General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir, the UN chief said Iran would need to pay at least16,251,298 dollars to have its voting rights restored.
The Central African Republic, which was also in arrears, would need to pay $29,395 to take its voting right back, according to the letter.
Guterres said three countries - the Central African Republic (CAR), Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia - are also in arrears on paying their dues. However, the UN chief said that the assembly passed a resolution saying they can still vote in its current session ending in September.
Under Article 19 of the Charter of the United Nations, members whose arrears equal or exceed the amount of their contributions for the preceding two full years lose their voting rights.
The Charter also gives the General Assembly the authority to decide "that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member," and in that case a country can continue to vote.
According to a statement by the UN General Assembly, as of 13 January 2021, ten member states were 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.
In January, Guterres wrote a letter to the rotational head of the General 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.
Iranís Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh then said the country has regularly paid its UN membership contributions during past years despite unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States on Tehran, which have made financial transactions difficult for the Islamic Republic.
He added that Iranís latest proposal to the UN in this regard was to settle Tehranís arrears using the countryís frozen assets in South Korea.
A South Korean Foreign Ministry official later in February said his country is finalizing talks with the US on Iranís payment of its UN membership dues through using some of its frozen assets in the East Asian nation.