Domestic Economy

Proposed Law on Iran's SCO Membership Submitted to Raisi for Final Approval

Proposed Law on Iran's SCO Membership Submitted to Raisi for Final Approval
Proposed Law on Iran's SCO Membership Submitted to Raisi for Final Approval

Iranian parliament speaker on Wednesday submitted the proposed bill for Iran's membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to President Ebrahim Raisi for final approval and implementation.
Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf handed over the law to Raisi in a letter for final approval and implementation, Tasnim News Agency reported.
The move follows Iranian Constitutional Council spokesman's announcement on Saturday that the vetting body had approved the bill on the country's membership in the SCO.
Hadi Tahan Nazif noted that, after reviewing the bill, the council did not see it as being in contradiction with the country's religious regulations and constitution, reported the Mizan news agency of the Iranian judiciary.
In November 2022, the Iranian parliament approved the bill for Iran's SCO membership by the overwhelming majority of the lawmakers.
Iran signed a memorandum on Sept. 16 during a summit at Samarkand, Uzbekistan, for joining the security bloc, the largest regional body in the world in terms of population governed.
The SCO was established in Shanghai in 2001 by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan and was joined by India and Pakistan in 2017.
Helping the country to protect its core interest amid the United States-led sanctions that have for long crippled its economy, Iran’s accession to Shanghai Cooperation Organization demonstrates Tehran’s commitment to Asian multilateralism, Asian News International wrote citing the Policy Research Group.
“The SCO accession is seen as a positive step forward for Iran, rather than a diplomatic triumph for the country which has long been battered by Western sanctions giving a blow to its economy. Iran can lead the way in emerging as a key partner for India and other Asian nations, especially through the International North-South Transportation Corridor.”
Beginning with only six members in 2001, the SCO eventually grew to a limited membership of eight when India and Pakistan joined in 2017. Iran is being welcomed as only the ninth member of the organization, though many more are now in line. Membership will grant Tehran top level contacts and economic cooperation with Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and several Central Asian countries — nearly half the population of the world, making up 28% of the global GDP.
“Sanctions disrupted the trade patterns, but Iran’s response to the US maximum pressure has been to focus on its immediate neighbors as well as on Eastern powers. The policy is primarily driven by security as well as economic imperatives. A full SCO membership will further facilitate Iran’s trade with Asian powers and Russia, compensating for the decline in trade with the EU that has decreased due to US sanctions,” Vienna-based strategy consultant Bijan Khajehpour told Responsible Statecraft. 
Iran’s trade with Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s member states, excluding crude oil exports from the country, stood at 38.43 million tons worth $30.37 billion during the first nine months of the current Iranian year (March 21-Dec. 21), registering 4.31% and a 24.13% year-on-year rises in terms of weight and value respectively, latest data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show.
China with 26.2 million tons (up 9.91%) worth $11.21 billion (down 39.71%) was Iran’s main trade partner among SCO member states during the period. It was followed by India with 5.16 million tons (down 11.9%) worth $2.15 billion (down 9.9%) and Russia with 2.86 million tons (down 19.51%) worth $1.08 billion (down 35.05%).
Iranian exports hit 31.03 million tons worth $15.02 billion during the period, registering a 2.55% and an 11.72% growth in weight and value YOY, respectively. 
China with 22.99 million tons (up 7.9%) worth $11.5 billion (up 12.83%), India with 3.68 million tons (down 24.98%) worth $1.41 billion (up 5.27%) and Pakistan with 2.44 million tons (up 12.78%) worth $1 million (down 53.53%) were the main export destinations.
Imports stood at 7.4 million tons worth $15.35 billion during the nine months ending Dec. 21 to register a 12.36% and 39.16% growth in weight and value year-on-year, respectively
China with 3.21 million tons (up 26.92%) worth $11.21 billion (up 33.39%), India with 1.47 million tons (down 45.83%) worth $2.15 billion (up 76.48%) and Russia with 1.82 million tons (up 91.39%) worth $1.08 billion (up 3.29%) were the major exporters.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a Eurasian political, economic and security organization. In terms of geographical scope and population, it is the world's largest regional organization, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia, 40% of the world population and 30% of global GDP.

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