The $16.2 million was drawn from Iranian money in a Korean bank that had been frozen by U.S. sanctions but was freed to pay the dues — apparently a conciliatory signal by the Biden administration.
Iran and four other countries were disqualified from voting in the General Assembly because they haven’t paid dues for two years. Iran blamed sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.
The effectiveness of U.S. sanctions is being called into question as Iran and its oil buyers test whether penalties are worth the risk amid diplomatic negotiations.
The Trump administration is trying to fortify its campaign of maximum pressure against Iran from being reversed by a potential Biden administration.
Without a broader diplomatic effort, the newest and toughest penalties will worsen a humanitarian crisis without forcing a leadership change, experts say.