Iran to regain UN vote after S. Korea pays country’s delinquent dues

SEOUL (REUTERS) – Iran is expected to regain its vote in the United Nations General Assembly after South Korea paid Teheran’s delinquent dues to the world body with frozen Iranian funds in the country, South Korea said on Sunday (Jan 23).

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, reimposing US sanctions.

Iran later breached many of the deal’s nuclear restrictions and kept pushing well beyond them.

“(Seoul) on Friday completed the payment of Iran’s UN dues of about US$18 million (S$24 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.

Teheran has repeatedly demanded the release of about US$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 how much Iranian frozen funds are left after the payment of UN dues, citing confidentiality laws.