SCO Accession Will Elevate Tehran’s Influence

SCO Accession Will Elevate Tehran’s Influence  SCO Accession Will Elevate Tehran’s Influence

A lawmaker says Tehran's accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will add to the country's influence on the world scene.  

"The SCO is an international [security and economic] cooperation body [created] to shift the balance of power in the international arena against western countries," Ardeshir Nourian said.

"If Tehran can join the bloc, [the country's] weight in the international arena will definitely increase."

Nourian, a reformist member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, made the statement in an interview with ICANA on Monday.

The parliamentarian said rooting out terrorism is in the common interest of Iran and the Eurasian body.

Iran is a major victim of terrorism and has extensive experience of battling the scourge, he noted.

"With Iran gaining full entry into the bloc, it will be able to provide member states with its viable solutions for dealing with the problem and making the fight against terrorist groups more effective."

Iran became an observer in the organization in 2005 and applied to join in 2008. But the international punitive restrictions over the nuclear program kept the issue on hold.

  Bright Prospects

With the removal of sanctions under Tehran's July 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that went into effect last January, prospects of SCO opening its doors to Iran seems to be bright, as Russia and China, the two key member states, along with others, have welcomed the idea.

Last month, SCO Secretary-General Rashid Alimov told Sputnik that the group agreed with Tehran's addition as a full member, but the issue was not taken up at the SCO summit in the Uzbek capital Tashkent on June 23-24.

Bakhtiyer Khakimov, the Russian special envoy to the SCO, said at a briefing in Tashkent last Thursday that the matter was not on the agenda of the meeting.

Interfax quoted him as saying that "there are technical nuances as to when the process [of Iran's addition] should be launched."

"We failed to reach an agreement with our colleagues this time, but the work continues."

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said late last month that Beijing first wants to focus on the accession of India and Pakistan before moving on to Iran.

India and Pakistan requested to join the organization in 2005 and the process of their membership began last year. At the Tashkent summit, the two Asian neighbors almost finalized the process and will have a formal seat in the next SCO summit in Kazakhstan in June 2017.

Founded in 2001, the SCO currently has six country-members, namely Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan .India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Belarus, Mongolia and Iran are observers and there also six "dialogue partner" countries.