June 9, 2021
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has condemned the announcement that Iran will lose its voting rights if it fails to pay arrears in its dues to the world body.
Guterres announced on June 2 that Iran and several other countries will lose their voting rights if they fail to pay their dues until September.
Zarif, repeating Iran’s earlier position on the issue, wrote that US banking sanctions imposed by the Trump administration do not allow Iran to make the payments, calling these sanctions “economic terrorism”. He also cited the freezing of Iran’s assets as a reason for non-payment.
Iran argued in January that the funds designated for the UN payment are part of funds frozen by two South Korean banks acting to observe US third-party sanctions. Tehran has been trying to get these funds released by various methods, including asking for humanitarian aid to be sent from South Korea.
The $7 billion frozen in Seoul were accrued from sales of Iranian oil to Korea right before the United States fully sanctions Iranian exports in May 2019.
In his letter Zarif blamed the “freezing of the Iranian nation’s multi-billion dollars of cash deposits-and not assets or reserves- in South Korean, Japanese, Iraqi and other banks.” Zarif argued that the conditions preventing Iran from paying its dues “were beyond” its control.