Delay in payment of Iran’s contribution to the UN due to sanctions and passive position of the United Nations

2021/06/20 | Note, political, top news

Strategic Council Online—Editorial: Iran was one of the founding members of the United Nations and had direct involvement in drafting its Charter. Concepts such as justice and international law made their way to the UN Charter as the result of the contribution and cooperation among Iran and several other countries. Iran was among the first 50 states that participated in the San Francisco Summit in April 1945 and adopted the UN Charter. One of the other turning points in the relations between Iran and the United Nations at the beginning of the activity of this international institution was Iran’s negative stance on veto power and its opposition to the interference of international organizations in the domestic affairs of member states. Abed Akbari—Expert of international issues

Iran’s arrears and right to vote

With this introduction, the most important issue in the relations between Iran and the United Nations as of January 2021 should be highlighted. This issue i.e. payment of Iran’s contribution to the United Nations and the possibility of suspending Iran’s vote in the General Assembly was due to the failure of Iran to pay its contribution as the result of US sanctions against Tehran. At the beginning of 2021, the Secretary-General of the United Nations announced in a report that Iran, alongside nine other countries, is losing its right to vote in the General Assembly due to more than 16 million dollars of dues in arrears. In this respect, the main point was that Iran, as a powerful and ancient state, was listed alongside 10 mainly poor African states (Libya, Comoros, the Central African Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, Niger, Congo, Zimbabwe and Sαo Tomε and Principe).

US financial and banking sanctions are the main obstacle for transferring Iran’s financial resources and for this reason, Iran failed to pay its dues to the United Nations as of 2018. Efforts to pay these dues in arrears from the financial resources of Iran blocked in other countries failed because of the fear the US may plunder these resources and Washington may obstruct it. This position by the Secretary-General was declared while according to Article 19 of the UN Charter if the UN is satisfied that non-payment of dues in arrears of member states is due to conditions beyond the control of the Member, the General Assembly can permit such a member to vote.

United Nations passive against US pressure

Therefore, it should be mentioned that in this issue, the United Nations, instead of dealing with the violation of the rights of the Iranians who have suffered from US sanctions and abiding by the provisions of the UN Charter, has sided with the United States in practice. The position of the Secretary General was recently repeated harshly and Guteres threatened that five countries including Iran are on the verge of losing their right in the General Assembly of the United Nations. In fact, the United Nations has ignored the US sanctions against Iran and the destructive role of US sanctions in the non-payment of Iran’s dues. Non-payment of Iran’s contribution was beyond Tehran’s control and the United Nations should have considered this in particular given that Iran in recent years had paid its financial contributions to the UN, through the very few financial channels it has, in spite of the various sanctions imposed by the United States.

Finally on 11 June 2021, Iran’s financial resources in South Korea were used only to pay Iran’s dues in arrears to the UN and Iran retained its vote in the General Assembly. Such a process was yet another signal of the role of the United States in the suspension of Iran’s right to vote. Even though this transfer was ultimately done by the US permit, the role of the US and its sanctions should not be ignored. The United Nations Spokesperson said the non-payment of Iran’s dues in arrears was blamed on US sanctions and not the will of the Iranian government. He emphasized Iran’s goodwill in this issue. [1]

Since the beginning of 2021, and the start of the process to suspend Iran’s right to vote, the US economic terrorism against the people of Iran and the US prevention from withdrawing Iran’s blocked resources for the import of food and medicine have not be reflected even in the slightest possible way in the statements of this organization and letters of the Secretary-General. Moreover, this organization and its secretariat had made minimum efforts to receive Iran’s dues in arrears from the Iranian assets seized by the US. They described Iran—a founding member of the US— merely as responsible for this situation.  The other point in paying Iran’s due arrears to the United Nations was the ignorance of the Secretariat of the United Nations and the Secretary-General of the conditions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. The economic recession has caused countries to reduce financial contributions to the United Nations and Iran has been dealing with this issue more due to the imposition of US sanctions.

In studying the budget status of the United Nations and its approach towards the member state’s due arrears the contradictory reaction of the UN and its Secretary-General to the status of various countries should not be ignored. Various reports have confirmed the US debt to the UN and the tool-like use of the White House of the leverage of financial contributions to the United Nations. However, no serious reaction has been made by the UN Secretariat or the Secretary-General. Also, financial contributions of rich countries to the United Nations in exchange for political advantage and favor (such as the Saudi Arabia issue and the removal of its name from the list of violators of the child rights in Yemen) have placed the professional and technical independence of the UN and its ability for pursuing the due arrears of developing states under question.

In conclusion, it should be mentioned that given the structure of the United Nations, the tool-like use of the issue of the right to vote and payment of financial contribution without attention to the reasons behind the non-payment of due arrears by member states have questioned the independence and influence of the United Nations. As with Iran, firstly, the non-careful incorporation of Article 19 of the UN Charter on conditions beyond the control of the member states and secondly lack of attention to the role of the United States and pressure on the White House to liberalize Iran’s assets for more important affairs such as the import of medicine and food and thirdly the absence of proper reaction by the Secretariat and the Secretary-General to the US policy on Iran’s financial assets have questioned the objectivity and credibility of this international organizations. The United Nations failed to play an effective and active role concerning an issue to which it is one party and is in need of a payment.

This issue per se demonstrates that regardless of the payment of Iran’s financial contribution to this organization, Tehran has faced more serious issues and problems which have their roots in the passivity of the UN and it’s converting into a tool. The United Nations, in order to resolve this issue, not only did not refer to the violation of the human rights of the Iranians by the United States but also addressed and threatened Iran directly.

[1].IRNA (2021), “Iran’s UN membership fee debt due to money transfer problems”, available at: en.irna.ir/news/84191106/

 

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