Saturday, December 10, 2022

Report: South Korea, Iran mull paying Tehran UN debts

South Korea is in consultations with Iran over the proposed use of its funds, frozen under the US sanctions, to help Tehran pay dues to the United Nations and regain its voting rights, government sources say.

Last week, the UN notified Iran that it would immediately lose its voting rights for the arrears, reportedly worth US$18.4 million, along with seven other UN member states, under the UN Charter.

Iran has more than $7 billion in funds for oil shipments frozen at two South Korean banks — the Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) and Woori Bank — due to US sanctions. Tehran has demanded the release of the money, a major sticking point in bilateral relations.

The two sides are seeking to capitalize on the assets to handle the problem of the delinquent UN dues, according to the sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Our government is in consultations with the Iranian government in that regard and is in related consultations with the US and the UN as well,” one of the sources told Yonhap News Agency.

The Iran’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that the country is looking for “a safe channel” for a faster payment of the UN membership fee, with relevant talks under way.

In 2021, the UN deprived Iran of its voting rights for failing to pay its dues. Washington agreed to enable Tehran to use some of the funds held at the IBK for the payment of a minimum amount of fee for the year and the restoration of its voting power.

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