Merits of Iran’s SCO Membership Highlighted

Iran’s admission to the SCO as a full member was officially approved at the 23rd meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State on Tuesday, according to the New Delhi declaration
Merits of Iran’s SCO  Membership Highlighted
Merits of Iran’s SCO  Membership Highlighted

President Ebrahim Raisi underlined the benefits of Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, saying the merits of the accession will certainly go down in history. 
“I hope that Iran’s presence in this important and influential organization will provide a platform for ensuring collective security, movement toward sustainable development, expansion of links and relations, promotion of unity, further respect for countries’ sovereignty and cooperation to counter environmental threats,” he said in an address to the 23rd meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State, which was held through video conference on Tuesday, reported. 
The president went into the details of how the Islamic Republic can play a role in the organization in six areas, namely security, economy, expansion of links, unity, respect for nation’s sovereignty and the environment. 
“Security is an endogenous matter and a collective achievement … based on such a view, Iran has founded its foreign policy on the basis of ‘neighborliness and convergence’ and considers it a favorable way to realize regional peace and stability,” he said. 
Iran is ready to share its successful experiences of ensuring security and combating hegemony in the region through SCO mechanisms, so that “we can move toward a region free from terrorism, extremism and separatism,” according to Raisi. 
With regard to economy, the president stressed the need for more serious attention to promoting the use of national currencies in international trade and financial exchanges between member states and their trade partners. 
Besides militarism, what has cleared the way for western domination is the dominance of the dollar, he explained, adding that any attempt to shape a fair international system therefore requires the removal of this instrument of domination in intra-regional relations. 
“Iran welcomes any move to introduce financial payment instruments based on modern technologies to facilitate financial exchanges between members and business partners, especially in multilateral frameworks,” he said. 
In terms of expanding connections and transit routes, the president expressed Iran’s readiness to cooperate in organizing the transportation of goods and passengers, increasing members’ access to global markets and coordinating transportation policies.
Raisi said SCO members will also be able to benefit from Iran’s security and infrastructural advantages that enable increasing energy transmission lines for the implementation of joint economic projects with guarantees of high productivity.
For promoting unity within the organization, it is important to preserve local progressive norms and prevent western norms from prevailing, so that cooperation grounds do not lose their meaning, he said. 
“Our greatest capacity for unity and peace-making is our civilization,” he said, describing the SCO as a symbol of this “huge civilizational family”.
The president later said that in the light of respecting the sovereignty of countries and relying on mutually beneficial cooperation, the lofty goals of security and sustainable development can be realized. 
“While respecting the sovereignty of all independent nations, Iran condemns any interference in the internal affairs of countries and considers the strengthening of national sovereignty as the main solution to deal with insecurity and terrorism.” 
Raisi pointed to climate change as a serious threat that has the possibility of turning into geopolitical tensions and causing complex security crises for countries.
“Iran believes that by creating multilateral mechanisms, including the formation of joint working groups …, such challenges can be prevented from turning into tension,” he said. 


Broad Prospects  

The SCO is an international organization founded by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia and Uzbekistan in 2001. In 2017, India and Pakistan were admitted as members.
Iran was an observer member of the organization since 2005, but had made a request for full membership, which was finally agreed to at the 21st meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe in September 2021.
During the Tuesday summit, Iran’s admission to the SCO as a full member was officially approved, according to the New Delhi declaration of the SCO Heads of State Council.
“Member states stressed the historical significance of the admission of Iran to the SCO as a full member state,” the declaration read.
SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming hailed Iran’s improvement of status, expressing support for Tehran’s constructive and effective participation in the organization’s cooperation agenda.
“I am confident that Iran’s full-scale membership will contribute to the SCO cooperation in different fields by bringing new practical content and opening broad prospects,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who on Tuesday chaired the SCO Summit virtually, conveyed his best wishes to President Ebrahim Raisi and the people of Iran.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who participated in the virtual summit, also extended congratulations to Tehran.
The Russian president said “in less than two years, our Iranian partners completed all the necessary procedures and now our shared task is to help our colleagues to productively join in the multifaceted activities taking place within the framework of the SCO.”

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