Sep 9, 2020, 10:33 AM
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Iran's permanent membership in SCO & expectation from China, Russia

Tehran, Sept 9, IRNA – The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs meeting is being held in Moscow, Russia, on Sept 9-10 while experts believe that China and Russia as two important member states are expected to play more active role in smoothing the path to Iran's permanent membership in the Organization.

Founded in 2001, the SCO is an intergovernmental international organization pursues multilateral cooperation in the areas of culture, security and economy.

China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are permanent members of the SCO; and Iran, Afghanistan, Mongolia and Belarus are the observers.

Although it is said that the Moscow SCO ministerial meeting to be led by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is to review ways to counter the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting has another mission that is making preparation for SCO summit slated for the fall.

As China and Russia- two main and powerful members of the Organization- enjoy wide economic and political cooperation with Iran, analysts believe that ways will be prepared more than before for Iran's permanent membership in the SCO during Russia's rotating presidency in the Organization.

Iran's accession to the SCO will create great economic, trade and political opportunities for Iran and other members.

Iran, on one hand, can make use of this opportunity to strengthen and promote its regional position and serve its national interests, and on the other hand, the country can take the opportunity to accelerate its economic cooperation with member states.

Of course, Beijing's strong support for Tehran's permanent membership in the SCO is of paramount importance because Iran is now under the highest-level of sanctions imposed by the United States.  

Recently, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov said in a meeting with Iran's Ambassador to China Mohammad Keshavarz-zadeh that the SCO secretariat approved a roadmap in 2019 for development of cooperation, a roadmap which is a good ground for fostering cooperation among the SCO members.

Iran, due to its active participation in the SCO, can organize some SCO events after the roadmap deepens trade exchanges, according to Norov's remarks.

Iran's Keshavarz-zadeh has said that the country in interested in promoting relations with SCO member states.

At all SCO ministerial meetings and summits held during the past seven years, top Iranian officials have expressed country's readiness to develop bilateral and multilateral cooperation with the Organization members.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, during his meetings with top officials of the SCO member countries, has always said Iran is ready to strengthen relations with the members.

President Rouhani has also highlighted Iran's excellent geographical situation and said the country is ready to take part in the joint economic projects with the SCO member states, Russia and China in particular.

Iran enjoying unique strategic and geographical situation and having rich energy and mineral resources can offer great opportunities to investors of the SCO members states, the Iranian president has said stressing that the opportunities can pave the way for economic boom in the member states.

Permanent membership of Iran in the SCO is an issue always followed up under the shadow of the US unjust sanctions against the country.

Surely, the United States through its political pressures has created obstacles on the way of Iran's multilateral cooperation with world countries including the SCO member states.

Russian officials have rejected over and over the US request for isolating Iran and supported Tehran's permanent membership in the SCO.

They have also assured Iran of their support for accession to the SCO during Russia's presidency in the Organization.

Although Chinese officials have stated that Iran's permanent membership in the SCO depends on agreement of all member countries, it seems that the issue of 25-year –old document for comprehensive cooperation between Beijing and Tehran and determination of the two sides' leaders to develop all-out relations have prepared the ground for accepting Iran's permanent membership in the Organization.

Translated by: Marjan Heydari Rad

Edited by: Safar Sarabi

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