No obstacle to Iran’s SCO membership – envoy

Trend– There is no obstacle to Iran’s full membership in Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Iranian Ambassador to China Ali Asghar Khaji told Radio Eghtesad on June 10.

Iran has officially applied for membership in SCO while it is present in the organization as an observer state, Khaji noted.

Describing Russia, China, India and Pakistan as important members of the SCO, he said Iran has no restrictions to be a permanent member of the Eurasian political, economic and security organization.

Khaji noted that anti-Tehran sanctions cannot stop Iran to be a full member of the SCO and that the Islamic Republic should grab the current opportunity to improve its ties with SCO member states.

The remarks by the Iranian envoy came as the Chinese port city of Qingdao is hosting the two-day Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among the leaders attending the summit. President Hassan Rouhani from Iran, an observer state, is also participating.

During the summit, SCO countries are expected to ink a batch of documents on customs cooperation, trade, agriculture, tourism and environment. The leaders are also supposed to focus on the issues of global trade and counterterrorism.

The leaders will discuss anti-terrorism measures and other regional security cooperation and will also express their support for the Iran nuclear deal, from which the United States recently pulled out.

Multilateral trade systems and China’s One Belt One Road Initiative are also on the agenda.

The leaders are also expected to exchange views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula ahead of the US-North Korea summit planned for June 12th.

The SCO last year formally approved membership for India and Pakistan. The total population of the alliance’s member states now exceeds 3 billion.

The SCO was formed in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan to curb extremism in the region and enhance border security.

The intergovernmental organization seeks to strengthen mutual trust and good-neighborly ties between the member countries, contribute to regional stability and facilitate cooperation in different sectors, including political, trade, economic and energy issues.

The SCO counts four observer states, namely Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus, and Mongolia. It has six dialogue partners, including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka.