Iran Regains Right to Vote in UN Assembly After Repayment of $16 Million Debt

Iran regained its right to vote in the United Nations General Assembly on Friday after repaying approximately $16 million in debt.

"Iran has paid the minimum amount due," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said on Friday, according to Reuters.

Shortly after Haq's comments, Iran's U.N. Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi wrote in a tweet that "Illegal US sanctions have not just deprived our people of medicine; they have also prevented Iran from paying our dues in arrears to the UN."

Illegal US sanctions have not just deprived our people of medicine; they have also prevented Iran from paying our dues in arrears to the UN.

After more than 6 months of working on it, the UN today announced it has received the funds.

ALL inhumane sanctions must be lifted NOW.

— Majid Takht Ravanchi (@TakhtRavanchi) June 11, 2021

"After more than 6 months of working on it, the UN today announced it has received the funds. ALL inhumane sanctions must be lifted NOW," the tweet said.

In January, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced that Iran owed $16.2 million in fees to the UN, which led to Iran having their UN General Assembly voting rights revoked. In response, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh claimed that because of U.S. sanctions, the money designated for the UN payments was frozen in South Korean banks.

The U.S. sanctioned Iran in 2018 after the U.S. withdrew from a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran under then-President Donald Trump.

On June 2, Guterres sent a letter to the UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir stating that Iran would lose its voting rights in the General Assembly due to the debt they owed. In the letter, Guterres said that if Iran paid a minimum of $16,251,298, they would be granted the right to vote again.

In response to Guterres, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Javad Zarif wrote a letter where he said, "I am writing to convey our strong dismay over the announcement that the Islamic Republic of Iran will lose its voting privileges in the United Nations General Assembly due to the arrears in the payment of its financial contribution to the United Nations."

In “black is white” world, UN deprived Iran of its voting rights in the #UNGA as we’re in arrears.

Not considered: US #EconomicTerrorism prevents Iran paying for FOOD, let alone UN dues

My letter to @antonioguterres:

ps: UN can also collect from $110M US stole in recent piracy pic.twitter.com/xe30TsxP8f

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) June 3, 2021

"This decision is fundamentally flawed, entirely unacceptable and completely unjustified, as Iran's inability to fulfill its financial obligations toward the United Nations is directly caused by 'unlawful unilateral sanctions' imposed by the United States to punish those who comply with a Security Council resolution," Zarif wrote. "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 UN 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."

Newsweek reached out to the Iranian Foreign Ministry for further comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

United Nations
The United Nations emblem is seen in front of the United Nations Office (UNOG) on June 8, 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland. Johannes Simon/Getty