0527 GMT October 04, 2022
President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi is set to partake in the annual summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe where Iran is expected to push for permanent membership.
The two-day summit of the group on Thursday that comprises eight member countries is being held in hybrid mode.
The meeting focuses on boosting trade among member states, combating the coronavirus pandemic, the situation in Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s mid-August takeover, and climate change.
Iran has held an observer status since 2005 in the Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance, which was founded in 2001 by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Tajikistan, the rotating chair of the SCO this year, as well as key member states China and Russia have backed Iran’s bid for joining the alliance.
Iran’s top security official Ali Shamkhani in August talked with Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev on the phone, following which he said the Islamic Republic’s SCO full membership will be approved during this week’s summit.
“Fortunately, the political obstacles to Iran's membership in the Shanghai agreement have been removed and Iran's membership will be finalized through technical formalities,” Shamkhani, who heads the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, said in a statement.
Iran is a major trade partner of SCO member states as its trade volume reached nearly 15.8 million tons of goods, worth $9.82 billion, during the first four months of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21).
The latest report by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration (IRICA) indicated that China accounted for the highest volume of imports from Iran among SCO states, with 9.89 million tons, valued at $4.36 billion.
The SCO is the largest regional organization in the world in terms of geopolitical coverage and population, covering three-fifths of the Eurasian continent and nearly half of the human population.
Under the SCO Charter signed in 2002, the member nations cooperate on security and military issues, especially with respect to terrorism, as well as on economic, environmental, cultural, scientific, and other issues.