The members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, led by Moscow and Beijing, today, Friday, agreed on Iran’s future membership of this alliance, which seeks to be a counterpart to American influence, although its concrete action remains limited.
“Today, we will launch procedures for Iran’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said during a video address from China, according to comments translated into English.
The Chinese president addressed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit this week in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who practically attended the summit, welcomed Iran’s future membership, as well as Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in Dushanbe.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who is also in the Tajik capital, expressed his “appreciation for the hospitality of Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and the Tajik people and for the excellent planning carried out during his tenure as head of the organization,” according to the IRNA news agency .
“We are pleased that the document on the permanent membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization was approved in Dushanbe by the leaders of the member states,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian tweeted on Twitter.
He told Iranian television that this process would be completed within a period of one to one and a half years.
Iran applied to become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in early 2008 with strong support from Russia, but processing of its application has been delayed due to sanctions imposed by the UN and Washington over its nuclear program.
The Russian president reaffirmed his country’s support for Iran’s full membership of the organization and welcomed the launch of the partnership dialogue between the organization and Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
“We have always defended Iran’s full participation in the work of our organization based on the fact that this country plays an important role in the Eurasia region and has cooperated fruitfully with the SCO for a long time,” Putin said via video link during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit.
He added: “Iran’s entry will undoubtedly help strengthen the organization’s international status. We also welcome the partnership dialogue with Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and Russia supports these countries’ active participation in the various areas of work of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.”
“Of course, we welcome the granting of dialogue partner status to Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and Russia is in favor of actively involving these countries in various aspects of the activities of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization,” the Russian president added.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was founded in 2001 with the participation of leaders in China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia have observer status, while Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka are partner countries.