Iran says UN voting right “naturally” restored after paying off membership arrears

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President of Iran Ebrahim Raisi

TEHRAN:  Iran has regained its right to vote at the UN General Assembly after its membership dues to the organization were paid by South Korea with frozen Iranian funds, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations announced.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi said late on Saturday that as soon as Iran’s arrears are received in New York, the country’s voting rights should naturally be restored, official IRNA News Agency reported on Sunday.

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South Korea confirmed on Sunday that it has paid Tehran’s membership delayed dues, amounting to 18 million U.S. dollars, to the UN from Iranian funds frozen in the country.

Earlier, Takht-Ravanchi told IRNA that negotiations were underway between Tehran and the world body to lift the suspension of the country’s right to vote at the General Assembly and enable the country to pay its membership dues to the organization, expressing hope that the talks would soon yield favorable results.

He noted that Iran, as an active UN member, has always been committed to paying up its membership dues on time and has proven this in practice.

The ambassador stressed that Iran has faced problems with the payment of its membership fee for the second consecutive year due to the sanctions imposed by the United States, which have not only undermined Iran’s ability to purchase humanitarian items and medical devices but are also impeding the UN’s work.

Iranian assets of over 7 billion U.S. dollars are frozen in two South Korean banks.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced earlier this month that Iran and seven other countries have had their voting rights suspended over late dues.

Iran had also lost its voting rights last year when the U.S. sanctions had blocked Iranian access to its billions of dollars frozen abroad.

The U.S. sanctions have been imposed since 2018 when former President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal.

Since April 2021, rounds of talks have been held between Iran and other remaining parties, namely Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany, in the Austrian capital of Vienna to restore the nuclear pact, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, with the United States indirectly involved.– IANS

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