Sep 19, 2021, 11:19 AM
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Experts says Iran SCO membership strengthened Asian cooperation

Tehran, IRNA – An expert believes that changing Iran's membership in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) from an observer to a permanent one has reinforced the prospect of Iran's cooperation with the SCO and its bilateral and multilateral ties with its member states.

Speaking to IRNA, Hamed Vafaie said there were some roadblocks on Iran's permanent membership which were lifted in interaction with other members.

He noted that the legal process for Iran's membership has begun, and China and Russia, as the two major powers, have supported Iran's permanent membership.

Emphasizing the impact of regional and international developments in accepting Iran request for membership, the expert said that US withdrawal from Afghanistan was an example of such developments.

Thanks to the need to establish a security and political balance in the geopolitics of Central Asia and the Middle East, SCO decided to invite Iran as a permanent member to achieve this balance.

Although the regional states first welcomed the US withdrawal, this change will create security gaps and a division of powers between international and regional powers, he reiterated.

US withdrawal from Afghanistan is an example of the depletion of power potential from the Atlantic to the Pacific

Elaborating on the regional and international impact of Iran membership in SCO, Vafaie said there are some changes in the international system, which is referred to as shifting from unilateralism to multilateralism.

There is no doubt about Iran’s vital role in the region and the effects that the country's policies have on the relations between different states, which is acknowledged by friend and foe alike.

If the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is interested in playing a role in the regional equations, it definitely needs Iran’s participation as a permanent member and this can definitely be in the regional interest of the SCO, which will enjoy Iran's regional and international capacities, the expert said.

Vafaie analyzed Iran's presence in SCO from various dimensions, saying from bilateral ties aspect, Iran is in touch will all SCO member states and will regulate its relations based on interest.

The second aspect is the SCO as a whole, in which countries follow up the collective ideas, interests, and goals defined in the organization.

He also referred to the importance of multilateral relations in the context of the SCO.

Underlining multilateralism inside the SCO, he said that Iran can sign trilateral agreements with Russia and China, or with India as well.

SCO supports establishing an inclusive government in Afghanistan

He described the developments in Afghanistan as a concern for the SCO member states and especially its neighboring countries, saying members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization are happy with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, but at the same time, they are concerned about the future of Afghanistan.

If an inclusive government is established in Afghanistan, the SCO members, including Afghanistan's neighbors, will help this government, but if a government is formed outside this framework, SCO and its various members, including Iran and China, will definitely face problems.

Changing Iran's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has no direct impact on the nuclear talks

Commenting on the influence of Iran’s permanent membership in the SCO on its relations with the West, Vafaie said it is not directly related to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Iran and the P4 +1 have negotiated on this issue in the past and will continue talks.

The Shanghai issue is a regional security issue, and the Iranian nuclear issue is an issue between Iran and the countries it interacts with.

The Islamic Republic of Iran was accepted as a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the 21st SCO Summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on September 17.

The SCO consists of eight permanent member states, including India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan. Four states of Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia are still observer members and six countries of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an effective regional and intra-state organization, which was established by leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in 2001.

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