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Iran loses to Japan in battle for UN seat

Japan has seen off a challenge from Iran for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. The winner was announced after a secret vote in the General Assembly in New York.

Five new non-permanent members were named after the 192 UN members cast their ballots. Austria, Turkey, Japan, Uganda and Mexico were awarded seats.

Candidate countries needed the support of two-thirds of the member states to win a seat.

The countries chosen will hold their seats for two years, beginning in 2009.

Iran was looking for its second ever term in the body, which has passed a series of resolutions against Tehran because of its nuclear programme.

The 15-seat council is the powerhouse of the U.N. with the ability to impose sanctions and dispatch peacekeepers.