Over the weekend, South Korea surprised the world by paying Iran’s delinquent dues owed to the United Nations (UN), which totaled $18M; consequently, Iran’s UN voting rights have been restored.
Apparently, Seoul’s payment of Iran’s debt had been approved by the White House. According to the South Korean Foreign Ministry, Seoul paid Iran’s debts after consulting with the US Treasury, which signals potential flexibility regarding the presently stalled nuclear negotiations. The $18M was sourced from Iranian assets that had been frozen in South Korea.
As a result of the debt repayment, Iran will ostensibly have its UN voting rights restored immediately.
While Iran’s mission to the UN did not provide an immediate response to requests for comment, Iran state television’s Press TV reported that Iran’s dues to the UN had been paid. However, Iranian state media did not provide details regarding the exact amount of money.
Majid Takht-e Ravanchi proclaimed that Iran “has always been committed to paying its membership dues on time” given that it is “an active member of the United Nations.” He also became incensed when discussing American sanctions, blasting them as “brutal and unilateral,” as well as the reason why Iran has been unable to pay its dues over the past two years.
Iranian funds had been impounded at South Korean banks as a result of heavy sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump. Trump’s sanctions on Iran emerged upon American withdrawal from Tehran’s nuclear deal with multiple world powers.
However, the Biden administration is keen on restoring the nuclear deal from 2015, which provided relief of economic sanctions to Iran in exchange for Iran allegedly curbing advancement in its nuclear program.
Currently, varied diplomats are engaging in more complicated negotiations in order to revive the Vienna accord; however, a breakthrough of significance remains highly elusive, given that Iran has effectively abandoned every limit that the deal had placed upon its nuclear enrichment.
Instead of halting advancements in its nuclear program, Iran now enriches small amounts that can span up to 60 percent purity, which is just one technical step away from weapons grade level enrichment. Moreover, the nation also currently spins vastly more advanced centrifuges than the tenets of the Obama- and Biden-supported nuclear deal permit.
Per the requirements of the UN Charter, a country owes at least two years’ worth of dues to the international agency will lose its voting rights at the UN General Assembly.