The United Nations stated Thursday that it had suspended the voting rights of Iran and 4 smaller international locations for delinquent dues. The transfer provoked a livid response from Iran, which known as it “astonishingly absurd” and blamed the nation’s arrears on U.S. sanctions that had frozen Iranian funds in banks worldwide.
The episode threatened to inject one other irritant into the estranged U.S.-Iranian relationship, entangling the United Nations simply as diplomats are searching for to advance negotiations aimed toward restoring American and Iranian compliance with the 2015 nuclear settlement between Iran and the main powers.
President Trump repudiated that accord three years in the past, restoring financial sanctions that the settlement had lifted. Iran responded by re-engaging in uranium enrichment and different actions that had been curtailed underneath the accord’s provisions. President Biden has stated he needs to rejoin the nuclear settlement, however Iran has stated the United States should drop its sanctions in verifiable methods earlier than Iran will return to compliance.
Secretary General António Guterres stated in a letter to the president of the General Assembly that Iran and 4 African international locations — the Central African Republic, Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia — had all breached the delinquency threshold underneath Article 19 of the U.N. Charter. The article states that any member owing the earlier two years of assessments could not vote within the General Assembly.
Mr. Guterres’s spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric, stated such letters are routinely transmitted when any member reaches the two-year threshold. The assessments are calculated underneath a posh system primarily based partly on a rustic’s financial dimension.
In early 2020, for instance, Venezuela, Yemen and Lebanon had been among the many international locations that briefly misplaced voting rights.
The General Assembly could make exceptions to the rule, figuring out that some international locations face such extenuating circumstances they can not pay and shouldn’t be penalized.
But that has not occurred — at the very least not but — within the case of Iran, which owes greater than $16.2 million, by far the many of the 5 delinquent international locations recognized in Mr. Guterres’s newest letter, dated May 28.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif of Iran, a former U.N. ambassador who is aware of his approach across the group, expressed outrage in a Twitter posting on the lack of voting rights, and hooked up a duplicate of his response to Mr. Guterres.
“This decision is fundamentally flawed, entirely unacceptable and completely unjustified,” Mr. Zarif’s letter acknowledged.
“It is astonishingly absurd that Iranian people, who have been forcibly blocked from transferring their own money and resources to buy food and medicine — let alone pay U.N. contributions arrears — by a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, are now being punished for not being allowed to pay budget arrears by the secretariat of the same Organization,” it acknowledged.
Mr. Dujarric defended the issuance of the letter, describing it as a “mechanical procedure” dictated by the U.N. constitution’s guidelines.
“We have been in very intense discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran on finding a way for them to pay their dues,” Mr. Dujarric instructed reporters at a every day briefing. “It is not from lack of trying from either our side or from their side, but as you know, the country falls under a number of bilateral sanctions, which makes it a bit challenging. So those discussions are continuing in good faith on all sides.”
In Tehran on Thursday, a spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, stated the Office of Foreign Assets Control, a part of the U.S. Treasury Department, had granted a license for Iran to switch the owed cash to the United Nations from a financial institution in South Korea, one in all a number of around the globe the place Iranian funds are impounded.
“This payment will be made soon,” Mr. Khatibzadeh stated.
The Office of Foreign Assets Control, which manages the sanctions imposed on Iran, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.