Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote a letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres earlier this month, criticizing the United Nations’ decision to deprive Iran of its voting rights.
As the UN Security Council backed Guterres for a second term on Tuesday, it is worthwhile to read highlights of Zarif’s letter to the UN chief, in which the Iranian foreign minister slammed the UN decision as “fundamentally flawed, entirely unacceptable and completely unjustified.”
“Iran’s inability to fulfill its financial obligation toward the United Nations is directly caused by ‘unlawful unilateral sanctions’ imposed by the United States to punish those who comply with a Security Council resolution,” Zarif wrote.
He was making a reference to the sanctions that the US slapped on Iran after former president Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the historic pact.
The sanctions have blocked Iran’s access to global financial systems, and its money in foreign banks, including in South Korean, Japanese and Iraqi banks.
Zarif said the world is well aware that the people of Iran have been under unprecedented economic warfare and terrorism since the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, also called the JCPOA, in material breach of preemptory norms of international law, the Charter of the United Nations and Resolution 2231.
“It is astonishingly absurd that Iranian people, who have been forcibly blocked from transferring their own money and resources to buy food and medicine – let alone pay UN contributions arrears – by a permanent member of the United Nations’ Security Council, are now being punished for not being allowed to pay budget arrears by the secretariat of the same organization, which has unjustifiably chosen for the past 3 years to remain indifferent in the face of attempted mass starvation – a crime against humanity – by the United States,” he noted.
The letter came after the UN said it had suspended the voting rights of Iran and four other countries over dues under Article 19 of the UN Charter, which states that any member owing the previous two years of assessments may not vote in the General Assembly.
However, Zarif pointed out that the UN Charter gives the General Assembly the authority to decide “that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member,” and in that case a country can continue to vote.
“By what definition are Iran’s arrears not ‘due to conditions beyond control’?” the chief Iranian diplomat asked.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is fully committed to fulfilling its financial obligations to the United Nations and will continue to make every effort to settle the arrears in the payment of its financial contribution to the UN and other international organizations as soon as the underlying imposed conditions, i.e. the US unlawful unilateral coercive measures, is removed,” Zarif added.
The UN decision came while Iran and the other parties to the JCPOA are engaged in multilateral talks to bring the US back into compliance with the deal and remove the anti-Iran sanctions in exchange for the reversal of Iran’s nuclear activities that go beyond the JCPOA limits.
The talks, which began in early April, have not led to a tangible outcome yet.
Zarif said on Monday that it remains unclear whether US President Joe Biden and State Secretary Antony Blinken are ready to bury the failed “maximum pressure” policy of Trump and his State Secretary Mike Pompeo.
“Iran is in compliance with the #JCPOA. Just read paragraph 36,” Zarif wrote in a tweet. “Time to change course.”