Iran says Western intolerance of its independent positions was behind Tehran's failure to win a seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Iran's U.N. envoy Mohammad Khazaee told state media Saturday the council's structure allows a few "special countries" to make decisions and impose ideas.  He said those countries are not interested in independent ideas or the entry of states that believe in re-examining the structure of the U.N. body.

Japan defeated Iran Friday for the Asian seat on the council by a U.N. General Assembly vote of 158-32.  Iran's candidacy was controversial because it has received three sets of Security Council sanctions due to concerns about its sensitive nuclear activities.

Britain's U.N. ambassador John Sawers said Iran's poor showing is an important sign of the council's concern about its actions.

In addition to Japan, the U.N. General Assembly elected Austria, Japan, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda as non-permanent members of the Security Council.  Those five countries are now voting members for two years on the 15-member council, which has the power to impose economic sanctions and deploy peacekeeping forces.

Ten countries hold non-permanent Security Council seats for two-year terms.  They work alongside the five permanent members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.

Austria and Turkey beat out Iceland for the European seats, while Mexico and Uganda ran unopposed.

The five newly elected members will replace Belgium, Indonesia, Italy, Panama and South Africa, whose two-year terms are up at the end of the year.


Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.