Sep 21, 2021, 4:32 PM
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Iran in SCO, an important link to counter unilateralism

Islamabad, IRNA -- Iran's regional position would be further strengthened after it became full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as the development has filled the missing link to counter unilateralism.

The membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the SCO, like other foreign media, has become an important subject in the Pakistani media and experts view it as a diplomatic victory for Tehran to develop regional relations with Beijing and Moscow to meet security challenges.

Experts believe Iran by joining a bloc led by China and Russia would get access to major global markets despite western sanctions.

Analysts see the SCO as one of the main symbols of cooperation between non-Western powers, paving the way for the post-American era.

Strengthening Iran's position in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization also paves the way for cooperation with other members, especially neighbors such as Pakistan, whose economic relations between the two countries are not at an acceptable level due to the US sanctions.

Iran in SCO, an important link to counter unilateralism

Dr. Farooq Hasnat, a well-known professor of international relations and political science at Pakistani universities currently based in Colombia talking to IRNA said Iran became the full member of the SCO on 17th of September 2021, but before that it was an observer member for quite some time.

“The SCO came into being in 2001 mostly comprising of Central Asian Republics, China and Russia and Pakistan is also its member as well India,” he said.

He said it is a geographically large population-wise organization that has a variety of societies and countries that can encompass this setup. “Iran was a missing link in the organization as it is placed in such a geographical location and such an important country and before Iran joining this organization something was lacking,” he said.

He added now the missing link has been fulfilled there might be other countries that would join the SCO in future like Turkey and Sri Lanka.

He said the basic objective of this organization is to have more cooperation between the member countries and it is entirely economic security related organization where the security concerns of the member countries are addressed and also the economic cooperation prospects are taken into account. “It has a much broader scope than NATO rather NATO has become a redundant organization,” Dr. Farooq Hasnat added.

He said China is the main member of the SCO which I would call a future superpower it is not an imperialist country and enjoys relation on equality. He went on to say Iran will play a very important part in the SCO. The first challenge for the SCO is the changes happening in Afghanistan.

In the recent SCO summit, all the members agreed that there should be an inclusive government in Kabul otherwise Taliban would lose their legitimacy and their acceptability would be a question mark. 

The expert added definitely Iran would benefit from this organization, it has already entered into a 25-year-long term agreement with China and Pakistan is also a member of the CPEC which is also a long term economic cooperation pact that also has strategic implications for both Iran and Pakistan so by joining the SCO as a full member of the SCO Iran is very well placed strategically and economically.

The professor said: But I don’t see any new cold war era in which there would be two blocs but I do see the SCO on its own moment as a very useful economic organization apart from taking care of the security concerns of the member countries and by the time the organization would become more mature and more useful for all the members, including Iran.  

Iran in SCO, an important link to counter unilateralism

**Membership in SCO reflects Tehran's strong diplomacy

Qandil Abbas, a professor of international relations at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, told IRNA that role played by Iran in the JCPOA which was unilaterally withdrawn by the US has convinced the members of the SCO to accept the Islamic Republic as a permanent member of the organization. 

“Finally after a long wait of 13 years the SCO has accepted Iran as a full member of the organization. Islamic Republic is the first middle eastern country to get a permanent member of the SCO. The SCO was formed in 2001 led by Russia and China later central Asian states became its members following Pakistan and India becoming its members,” he said.

He added the basic objective of the organization is to counter the influence of western powers in international politics. After 9/11 China has been targeted so the country with the support of Russia formed the SCO making it the only organization in the world that has no presence of western powers.

He said all the conspiracies of the US and the west since the victory of the Islamic Revolution to isolate Iran have been failed miserably.

“Iran has always stood by its ground and proved its importance through its wise diplomacy," viewed professor Abbas.

He said after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US was trying to push the international system towards unilateralism to become the superpower but later many incidents, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, have proved that the US is not capable to attain such an important position.

The analyst added later many blocs emerged in the world and challenged the US approach towards unilateralism which shows that the world is moving towards multipolarism. The SCO has become a tool to counter the western influence and Iran after becoming its member would be able to achieve its objectives easily.

Qandil Abbas expressing his views said Iran in the recent meeting of the SCO has called upon the member states to support the Islamic Republic against unjustified inhuman sanctions. There is a realization in China, Russia, Pakistan, India, and other central Asian states that Iran has not been treated well and faced discriminatory western policies.

He said President Raisi has also termed these illegal sanctions as an act of terrorism against Iran as they are creating problems for the common man. But now Iran after becoming a member of the SCO would be able to effectively counter these sanctions.

He said Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and nobody can stop Iran from pursuing its peaceful nuclear program.

He said that SCO membership would provide an opportunity to further strengthen its trade ties with its neighboring states along with China and Russia. Iran’s SCO membership proves the failure of American sanctions against Tehran. Under the SCO Iran would be part of the economic and trade activities of the region.

“Pakistan is also a member of the SCO and ECO along with Iran. Iran is Pakistan’s next-door neighbor and both countries have deep-rooted historical ties and both countries can take lots of benefits from each others’ experience and resources,” said Dr. Qandil Abbas.

He added American sanctions are a big hurdle in this regard as they have already affected the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.

“Pakistan needs energy and Iran with its vast resources has the capacity to fulfill these requirements. I think in the new scenario chances of Iran-Pakistan cooperation in all areas especially the trade sector are bright,” said the expert.

He said the strategic positions of Iran and Pakistan are very important in the SCO and Iran would become a bridge in linking Europe with Asia.

272**2050

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