South Korea has used $18 million of frozen Iranian assets to pay Tehran’s dues to the UN, Seoul said Sunday, in a move to immediately restore the country’s voting power.
The payment was made Friday in cooperation with the US and the UN after Iran made an “emergency request” to South Korea to pay the dues, the finance ministry said in a statement Sunday.
Iran has more than $7 billion in funds for oil shipments frozen at two South Korean banks due to US sanctions.
“Iran’s voting right at the UN General Assembly is expected to be immediately restored with the payment,” the ministry added.
The Islamic republic was South Korea’s third-largest Middle Eastern trade partner before the United States unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and reimposed crippling sanctions.
The UN cited unpaid dues when it suspended Iran’s voting rights at the General Assembly earlier this month.
Under the UN charter, a member country’s right to vote is suspended when its arrears equal to or exceed the dues it should have paid over the preceding two years.
Iran also lost its vote over unpaid dues last year. It said it could not pay even the minimum amount because of US economic sanctions.
After months of negotiations Iran was granted an exemption—it was allowed to access money blocked by the US Treasury—and got back its vote in June in time for the election of new members of the Security Council.