Friday 27 Apr 2018 | 05:23 | SYDNEY
Friday 27 Apr 2018 | 05:23 | SYDNEY

Buying UN votes Iranian-style


Jenny Hayward-Jones


27 November 2009 09:05

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth has reported that Iran has been bribing countries to vote against Israel at the United Nations. The report alleges that an Iranian offer of $200,000 of financial assistance to Solomon Islands prior to the visit in October last year of Solomon Islands Foreign Minister William Haomae to Iran was made in exchange for Solomon Islands undertaking to vote against Israel at the UN.

Solomon Islands has traditionally abstained from voting in UN resolutions connected with Israel but has recently started to vote against Israel. Solomon Islands was the only country in the Pacific Islands region that voted in favor of adopting the Goldstone Report on Israel’s operation Case Lead in Gaza. This apparently so alarmed Israel that an Israeli Foreign Ministry representative was dispatched to Honiara to protest.

Apart from the engineering expertise promised last year to Solomon Islands, Iran also agreed to fund the travel costs of Solomon Islands medical students studying in Cuba. But this assistance has struck an obstacle. 

The ANZ Bank in Honiara has declined to process a payment of $100,000 from Iran to the Solomon Islands government for the costs of sending a fresh contingent of 25 Solomon Islands students to Cuba. The ANZ has clarified that it has a policy of not undertaking remittances or transactions in any currency involving Iran, Sudan, Syria, North Korea, Myanmar or Cuba due to the 'unacceptable risk of sanctions non-compliance and the gravity of consequences associated with non-compliance.'

This is not the first time that the Solomon Islands government has been accused of accepting financial inducements in return for its vote at international meetings. It is not clear what, if any, assistance Solomon Islands has been able to extract from Iran so far. If Honiara expects some material return from the promise of its vote at the UN, it may have to work out a means of actually receiving the benefit in order to justify the effort.

Photo by Flickr user basheem, used under a Creative Commons license.