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Iran, Venezuela and Sudan and others lose UN voting rights

January 12, 2022

In total, 11 countries are behind on membership dues, and eight have had their right to vote suspended. Iran has blamed US sanctions for the lack of funds.

UN general assembly plenary meeting on Palestine in session
Eight countries have lost their right to vote in the United Nations General AssemblyImage: Manuel Elias/UN Photo/Xinhua News Agency/picture alliance

Iran, Venezuela and Sudan have lost their right to vote at the United Nations due to unpaid dues, UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday.

In total, 11 countries are behind in their payments, of which eight have lost their right to vote in the UN assembly.

The five other countries that have lost their right to vote are Antigua and Barbuda, Congo, Guinea, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu.

Why did the countries lose their right to vote?

Under the UN charter, if a member's arrears equal or exceed the amount that should have been paid over the preceding two full years, the member loses its voting rights.

If the outstanding debt is deemed to be "due to conditions beyond the control of the member," the member may still be allowed to vote. In 2022, this is the case of Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia.

The minimum payment for Venezuela to restore its voting rights is around $40 million (€35 million), Iran must pay just over $18 million (€15.8 million), and Sudan must pay nearly $300,000 (€262,000).

The five other countries each must make a minimum payment of less than $75,000 (€65,550) to get back their vote.

Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian; behind him is an Iranian flag
Iran said that the country had not been able to pay due to US sanctionsImage: Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency/picture alliance

Iran blasts 'oppressive and illegal US sanctions'

In January 2021 Iran lost its vote over unpaid dues. After months of negotiations, the country was granted an exemption and got back its vote in June.

Iran's Foreign Ministry said the country is committed to "full and timely payment of membership dues," but that it has not been able to do pay "due to the oppressive and illegal US sanctions."

The UN's operating budget approved in December is around $3 billion (€2.6 billion). Its separate peacekeeping budget approved in June is around $6.5 billion (€5.7 billion).

sdi/aw (AFP, AP)