Negotiations on an Iran sanctions resolution were unexpectedly postponed because of Russia's anger at the United States for raising the plight of a Belarusian opposition leader in the UN Security Council.
Belarus, an authoritarian former communist state with close ties to Russia, is not on the agenda of the UN's most powerful body. Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin strongly objected when senior US diplomat William Brencick brought up the 54-day hunger strike of jailed former Belarusian opposition presidential candidate, Alexander Kozulin, council diplomats said.
The five veto-wielding council members - the US, Russia, China, Britain and France - along with Germany had been scheduled to meet soon after to discuss Russian amendments to a revised European draft resolution on Iran.
But because of the diplomatic tiff over Belarus, the meeting was put off.