Ratification of Bill to Join SCO Signifies Tehran’s Will to Improve Ties With Bloc

Iran’s membership in the SCO carries an international message of multilateralism in the country’s foreign policy sector, Amoui said
Ratification of Bill to Join SCO Signifies Tehran’s Will to Improve Ties With Bloc
Ratification of Bill to Join SCO Signifies Tehran’s Will to Improve Ties With Bloc

Parliament’s decisive vote for the bill on Iran’s admission to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an indication of the country’s resolve and seriousness to develop regional and international ties and promote its look to Asia, the Iranian top diplomat said. 
“Multilateralist approach is the reality of the present century,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in a tweet on Sunday. 
During its Sunday session, the Iranian parliament approved by a majority vote a bill on the Islamic Republic’s accession to the SCO.
As many as 205 lawmakers voted for the bill, three voted against and four abstained.
Iran was an observer member for over 15 years, but had applied to join the organization as a full member in 2008.
The eight SCO member states gave their consent for upgrading Iran’s status and signed the relevant documents at the end of their 20th summit in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe in September 2021. 
Iran’s Embassy in Beijing later said the country’s accession to the Eurasia-spanning organization would be finalized by April 2023.   
Addressing the 21st summit, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi said the world had entered a new era when hegemony and unilateralism were declining.
“The international order is shifting toward multilateralism and redistribution of power in favor of independent states,” he said, adding that the SCO and its governing spirit of mutual trust, common interests, equality, mutual consultation, respect for cultural diversity and common development were key tools for maintaining peace in the 21st century. 
The Eurasian political, economic and security alliance was formed in 2001 by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan at a summit held in Shanghai.
China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, India, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are its current full members. 
The organization accounts for 40% of the world’s population and 28% of the global gross domestic production.



Message of Multilateralism 

Speaking at Sunday’s parliamentary session, Abolfazl Amoui, a member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said Iran’s membership in the SCO carries an international message.   
“[The membership] conveys Iran’s message of multilateralism in the foreign policy sector,” he said, highlighting SCO’s weight at regional level thanks to the membership of Russia and China who give a boost to its volume of trade. 
He also stressed the importance of the Asia and Eurasia region in the world’s economic future. 
“Although this organization was initially founded with a security approach, in recent years it has engaged in the development of economic, banking, telecommunication and industrial cooperation at ministerial level, while countering America’s imposition of unilateral sanctions is also part of its agenda,” he said. 
Amoui later elaborated on the details of the bill, noting that to become a full member, Iran needed to recognize all documents that have been passed by the SCO since its establishment. 
“So far, 49 documents have been ratified in this organization whose approval as the SCO’s operating principle was a condition for Iran’s permanent membership,” he said. 
In the event that a new binding document is ratified by the organization, it has to undergo the same procedure at the Iranian parliament, he added. 
The Islamic Republic has conditions too, according to Amoui, including about issues concerning its national security which will only be agreed to once approved by the Supreme National Security Council. 
Moreover, pointing to huge military maneuvers that are conducted in member countries, he said they would require the nod of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces to be carried out in Iran. 

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