The UN chief said in a letter circulated on Wednesday that Iran, Venezuela and Sudan are paying dues to the UN’s operating budget and are among eight countries that will lose their voting rights in the 193-member General Assembly.
Also losing voting rights are Antigua and Barbuda, Republic of Congo, Guinea, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a letter to General Assembly President Abdullah Shahid.
The suspension has come into force with immediate effect.
The United Nations Charter states that members whose arrears are equal to or more than the amount of their contributions for the previous two completed years lose their voting rights. But it also empowers the General Assembly to decide whether “the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the member’s control,” and in that case, a country can continue to vote.
The General Assembly decided that three African countries on the list of outstanding countries – Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia – would be able to retain their voting rights.
According to the secretary-general’s letter, the minimum payment required to restore voting rights is $18,412,438 for Iran, $39,850,761 for Venezuela and $299,044 for Sudan. Five other countries each need less than $75,000 to restore their voting rights.
Iran also lost its voting rights in January 2021. It reclaimed those rights in June after making minimum payments on its dues and was reprimanded in the United States for maintaining sanctions that have prevented it from accessing billions of dollars in foreign banks. At the time, UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq thanked banking and government officials in various places, including South Korea, for enabling the payments to be made.
Former US President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Iran after pulling the US out of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the six major powers in 2018.
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