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October 17, 2008

Iran Fails to Gain Seat on UN Security Council

This morning, the UN General Assembly voted to appoint the next five non-permanent members of the Security Council, replacing five states whose terms are set to expire at the end of the year.  Iran had hoped to gain a seat on the influential body, most likely as a way of opposing further multilateral sanctions against its nuclear program from the inside.  However, Japan also sought a seat at the table, and proved to be tough competition.
Just moments ago, Japan easily won a vote of all 192 General Assembly members with 158 votes.  Iran only gained the support of 32 nations.
Along with Japan, next year’s Security Council will include new members Uganda, Mexico, Turkey and Austria.

Update: From the Washington Post:

Tehran, which is the target of three Security Council sanctions resolutions, was routed by Tokyo, receiving only 32 votes in the 192-member U.N. General Assembly. Iran’s loss represented a serious diplomatic setback for Tehran, which portrayed itself as a champion of the developing world that could balance U.S. and European dominance on the 15-nation security council. It insisted that it deserved a seat because it had served on the council only once in its history, under the shah of Iran, 50 years ago. John Sawers, Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, said Iran’s ‘thrashing’ sends a strong message about the global displeasure with Tehran. ‘Hopefully, they will understand that this means there is no support from the international community,’ said U.S. diplomat Alejandro Wolff. Iran’s delegation declined to address reporters after the vote.”

Update II: Reuters reported on the Iranian Ambassador’s response to the loss:

‘Obviously the structure of the Security Council is such that it must be said in practice a few special countries make decisions there and impose ideas,’ Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, told state television. ‘And it is natural that these countries are disinterested in independent ideas or the entry of states that believe in the necessity of re-examining its structure,’ he said. ‘Anyhow, some do not have the tolerance to hear an independent voice in a structure incompatible with today’s world necessities,’ he added.

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