Iran, Venezuela Lose U.N. Votes over Unpaid Dues

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (2L) and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (3L) review the honor guard at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran on January 10, 2015. Maduro arrived in the Iranian capital the previous day for a 24-hour visit during which he will meet officials from fellow OPEC member Iran to …
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres formally notified the General Assembly on Tuesday that 11 countries are behind in paying their dues, with eight of them delinquent enough to lose their voting rights.

Iran and Venezuela were the biggest names among the nations that lost their vote. Venezuela currently holds a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council, a position denounced as absurd and outrageous by critics who point to the appalling human rights record of dictator Nicolas Maduro.

The other countries with suspended voting rights were Sudan, Antigua and Barbuda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea.

According to the U.N. Charter, voting rights are suspended when a member’s past-due bills exceed the total amount of its contributions for the previous two years. The General Assembly can grant exemptions if “failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member.”

The other three members with excessive arrears were the impoverished African nations of Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe, and Somalia. The General Assembly decided to give them exemptions and allow them to continue voting until September.

The largest overdue payment among the suspended nations was just under $40 million for Venezuela. Iran can regain its voting rights by paying $18 million, while Sudan needs to pay $299,044, and the other five members need less than $75,000 each.

Iran lost its voting privileges last year for the same reason. The Iranians claimed they were behind because their economy was suffering under “illegal and oppressive” U.S. sanctions. Somehow these oppressive sanctions did not hinder Iran from spending titanic sums on advanced weapons, exporting them to terrorist movements such as the Houthis of Yemen, and making progress on its illegal nuclear weapons research. 

The U.N. decided to grant Tehran an exemption until it could access funds in various banks to pay $16 million in back dues, a task it completed in June.

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