The South Korean government paid Iran’s debts at the United Nations with Iranian funds frozen in South Korean banks.
On Sunday, South Korea said that Iran is expected to regain its vote in the United Nations General Assembly after South Korea paid the arrears owed by Tehran to the world organization with Iranian funds frozen in the country.
Iran also regained voting rights at the United Nations in June after a similar payment, but this month said it lost them again because it could not transfer funds to pay arrears as a result of US sanctions.
The release of frozen Iranian funds requires the approval of the United States, which joined its European allies last week in declaring that there were only weeks left to salvage the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
US President Donald Trump at the time withdrew Washington from the agreement in 2018 and reimposed US sanctions. Iran subsequently violated many of the nuclear limitations contained in the agreement.
The Finance Ministry said Seoul “on Friday completed the payment of Iran’s arrears to the United Nations amounting to about $18 million through Iranian funds frozen in South Korea in active cooperation with relevant agencies such as the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the UN Secretariat.”
The United Nations office in Seoul could not be reached for comment after business hours.
The ministry also said that Iran urgently asked South Korea last week to help pay the United Nations’ contribution with the frozen funds due to fears of losing its right to vote in the General Assembly, which includes 193 members.
Tehran has repeatedly demanded the release of about $7 billion of its funds frozen in South Korean banks under US sanctions, saying Seoul is holding the funds “hostage”.