"There are studies that show that the countries which are on Security Council with non-permanent seats benefit financially. Aid from the developed world tends to flow into these countries when they are in a position to help or hurt.

"One study showed that US aid increases by 59 per cent to countries when they serve on the Security Council."

International diplomacy

Japan, which has already served nine terms on the council, was a favourite with analysts and easily won a seat on the Council.

Iran was competing against Japan for the Asian seat, despite sanctions imposed by the UN over its nuclear programme

Led by the US, many countries have expressed concerns that Iran could produce a nuclear weapon.

Iran says its nuclear activity is for purely civilian purposes.

Iceland was considered a strong candidate for a European seat, until the recent global financial crisis threatened its economy and crushed its banks.