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South Korea says Iran to regain UN vote after delinquent dues paid with frozen funds

January 23, 2022 at 1:35 pm

Iran’s President’s Ebrahim Raisi remotely addresses the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly on September 21, 2021 at UN headquarters in New York City [Eduardo Munoz-Pool/Getty Images]

Iran is expected to regain its vote in the UN General Assembly after South Korea paid Tehran’s delinquent dues to the world body with frozen Iranian funds in the country, South Korea said on Sunday, Reuters reported.

Iran had regained its UN voting rights in June after a similar payment, but said this month it had lost them again because it could not transfer the funds to pay its dues as a result of US sanctions.

Release of Iran’s frozen funds requires the approval of the United States, which joined its European allies this week in saying only weeks remain to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Then-President Donald Trump took Washington out of the deal in 2018, re-imposing US sanctions. Iran later breached many of the deal’s nuclear restrictions and kept pushing well beyond them.

READ: Iran nuclear talks ‘on right track’, says EU official

Seoul “on Friday completed the payment of Iran’s UN dues of about $18 million through the Iranian frozen funds in South Korea, in active cooperation with related agencies such as US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the United Nations Secretariat,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

The Seoul UN office was not reachable for comment outside business hours.

Iran urgently asked South Korea last week to help pay the UN contribution with the frozen funds on concerns of the loss of its right to vote in 193-member General Assembly, the South Korean ministry said.

Tehran has repeatedly demanded the release of about $7 billion of its funds frozen in South Korean banks under US sanctions, saying Seoul was holding the money “hostage”.

A South Korean finance ministry official declined to say much Iranian frozen funds are left after the payment of UN dues, citing confidentiality laws.