Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Friday, 17 October 2008 17:20 UK

Iran Security Council bid fails

The results of the vote are announced in New York

Japan has been elected as a temporary member of the UN Security Council, defeating Iran for the Asian seat.

In the vote at the UN headquarters in New York, Japan received 158 votes and Iran received 32.

Turkey and Austria have been elected for the two European seats, defeating Iceland. Uganda and Mexico won their seats unopposed.

The five successful countries will take their seats at the Security Council on 1 January 2009.

They will replace South Africa, Panama, Indonesia, Italy and Belgium.

The BBC's Laura Trevelyan in New York says that Japan, as the second biggest contributor to UN funds, is well regarded and seen as a contender for a permanent Security Council seat.

Iran, however, has had Security Council sanctions imposed upon it over its nuclear programme.

Financial setback

In the race for the two European seats, Iceland was always the underdog but its financial collapse did not help, with diplomats saying that could well have cost it votes, our correspondent says.

As lobbying entered its final few hours, ambassadors described the atmosphere as feverish.

Countries deployed their foreign ministers to twist arms and shore up votes in the closing moments of the campaigns.

Temporary seats on the UN Security Council are highly sought after as countries get to impose sanctions, deploy peacekeepers and influence policy in trouble spots ranging from North Korea to Darfur.

All 192 member countries at the UN were eligible to vote.

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