UNITED NATIONS: Iran, a country under UN. sanctions, and Iceland, which has been battered by the recent credit crisis, failed Friday to win nonpermanent seats on the powerful UN Security Council.
Austria and Turkey beat Iceland in the battle for the two nonpermanent European seats on the 15-member council in voting at a meeting of the UN General Assembly while Iran lost out to Japan for the council s Asian seat.
The Security Council is the powerhouse of the UN with the ability to impose sanctions and dispatch peacekeepers.
The other two seats went to Mexico, which will represent Latin America, and Uganda, which will represent Africa; both ran unopposed.
In the secret ballot, candidates were required get a two-thirds majority of members voting.
General Assembly President Miguel d Escoto Brockmann said after the balloting that Austria received 133 votes, Turkey 151 votes, Japan 158 votes, Uganda 181 votes and Mexico 185.
Iran received only 32 votes from the UN members, Iceland, which had been considered by many to be a strong candidate until the recent economic crisis, received only 87 votes.
The five new nonpermanent members of the council will serve two-year terms.
Ten of the council s 15 seats are filled by the regional groups for two-year stretches. The other five are occupied by its veto-wielding permanent members: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
The five countries elected to the council will take their seats on Jan. 1, 2009, replacing Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa. The five countries elected last year – Libya, Vietnam, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica and Croatia – will remain on the council until Jan. 1, 2010.