Support for Bigger, Stronger, Independent SCO

Support for Bigger, Stronger, Independent SCO   Support for Bigger, Stronger, Independent SCO

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization may become the main rival of the Group of Seven, Deputy Foreign Minister for Asian and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour told Sputnik on Thursday.

“The SCO may become the main competitor of the G7,” Rahimpour said.

The SCO is able to gain more importance worldwide as member states and countries willing to work closely with the organization represent a strong global force, he noted.

Rahimpour said the forthcoming SCO Heads of State Council Meeting may see the participation of 15 non-western states that, in total, account for about 50 percent of the world’s economic, humanitarian and political activities.

The SCO will become a stronger international establishment if new member states are accepted, he commented. Currently, the SCO comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as members. Iran, Afghanistan, India, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.

Membership in the SCO will be beneficial to Iran, Rahimpour said.

“Our country will only win if it becomes a SCO member. This could contribute to reaching our main goals,” he said, adding that Iran’s main goals within the organization are economy, transit and security.

“We want the SCO region to be strong and independent.”

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the SCO may raise Iran’s status after Iran’s nuclear issue is resolved.

  Promising Summit

The upcoming SCO summit in the Russian city of Ufa will be of much greater significance than the previous two gatherings, Rahimpour said.

The senior diplomat added that Iran has been actively involved in SCO activities and that, thanks to friendly ties between President Hassan Rouhani and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tehran has taken all necessary steps to participate in the SCO summit on July 9-10 in Ufa.

Russia currently holds the rotating presidency of the alliance.

“I would like to note a very important fact — global changes have taken place. The status and the importance of the SCO Ufa summit significantly exceeds the status and the importance of the previous two summits,” Rahimpour stressed.

  S-300 Talks   

In addition, Rahimpour said negotiations on the supply of Russian S-300 air defense systems to Iran are at the final stage.

“We are currently holding talks with Russia, which are at the final stage, on the acquisition and supply of S-300 missile systems.”

Russia’s 2007 deal with Iran to deliver five S-300 systems was halted after the UN Security Council imposed an arms embargo on Tehran over its nuclear program. In April, Putin lifted the ban on the sale of S-300s to Iran citing progress in the nuclear talks, due to be finalized by the end of June.