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Iran Blames Intolerance For Losing UN Seat Vote

TEHRAN (Reuters) -- Iran has blamed what it said was intolerance of its independent positions by the West for its failure to win a seat on the UN Security Council, which has imposed sanctions on Tehran over its disputed nuclear work.

Iran was overwhelmingly defeated by Japan in a vote on October 17 for an Asian seat on the 15-seat council. Tokyo secured a crushing 158-32 votes from the 192-member assembly for the right to sit on the Security Council for two years starting in January.

"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 UN ambassador, Mohammad Khazai, 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 reexamining its structure."

"Anyhow, some do not have the tolerance to hear an independent voice in a structure incompatible with today's world necessities," Khazai added.

Iran's delegation did not speak to reporters immediately after the vote in New York.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who regularly rails against the West, has repeatedly said the Security Council was a relic of a post-World War II order that needs updating.

He has also repeatedly refused to halt sensitive nuclear work as demanded by the Security Council. Western critics have accused Iranian officials of seeking to build atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies saying its plans are peaceful and aimed at generating electricity.