United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres informed members of the General Assembly that 8 countries – including Iran, Sudan and Venezuela – lost their right to vote in the international organization due to the “large debts” owed to the organization by those countries.
On Wednesday, the French press agency quoted Guterres as saying that in addition to Iran, Sudan and Venezuela, the other five countries that lost their right to vote are Antigo and Barbuda, Congo, Guinea, Papua (New Guinea) and Vanuatu.
In his message to the members of the General Assembly the day before yesterday, Tuesday, the Secretary-General of the International Organization stated that: “11 Member States are currently in arrears in the payment of their contributions under Article 19 of the Charter of the United Nations”.
This article provides for “suspending the right to vote in the General Assembly of any country whose arrears amount is equal to or higher than the contribution due from it for the past two years.”
If the default is due to “conditions beyond its control,” the target country under Article 19 may retain its right to vote, and this is the case in the current year (2022) for Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia, Guterres said.
The Secretary-General disclosed the minimum amount each of these countries must pay to restore voting rights; Iran has to pay more than $18 million, Sudan about $300,000, and Venezuela nearly $40 million.
Last year, Iran lost its right to vote due to outstanding debt. Tehran has said it cannot meet the minimum required to pay its debts at the United Nations due to economic and financial sanctions imposed by Washington.
After months of negotiations, Tehran was granted an exemption allowing it to pay its dues and regain the right to vote last June before new members of the UN Security Council were elected.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry confirmed Iran’s commitment to “pay its due contributions in full and fulfill its promise,” but it was unable to pay “due to the unjust and illegal US sanctions.”
The Iranian Foreign Ministry added in a statement that “the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the General Secretariat should take into account the special circumstances of countries facing illegal sanctions and not hesitate to help countries pay their dues.”
It is noteworthy that the value of the annual operating budget of the United Nations, which was approved last December, is about 3 billion dollars. The budget for separate peacekeeping operations, which was approved last June, is $6.5 billion.