Lawmakers Support SCO Membership

Lawmakers Support SCO MembershipLawmakers Support SCO Membership

Iranian lawmakers highlighted the benefits of the country's possible accession to Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

"This international economic organization enjoys a high global status and helps the development of member countries. Fortunately, conditions are favorable for Iran to join this alliance," Farhad Falahati, an MP, said in an interview with ICANA on Wednesday.

"Members such as Russia and China have given considerable weight to the organization. Joining the SCO can help Iran push its political and economic goals more effectively after the JCPOA."

Falahati used an acronym that stands for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal title of the 2015 nuclear accord.

It was negotiated between Iran and major powers, and went into force in January to give it sanctions relief in return for curbing its nuclear program.

Mohammad Ebrahim Rezaei, another member of parliament, said the SCO membership would help improve the Islamic Republic's global status.

"Iran has a special position in the world and its accession to the body can give its position a significant boost."

  Mutually Beneficial

Lawmaker Valiollah Nanvakenari pointed to Russia's expression of support for Iran's membership bid and said, "The membership of the Islamic Republic would certainly be in both sides' interests and yield good results, especially because the current members and Iran face common political challenges in the region such as the Syria and Iraq crises."

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin reiterated his side's stance on Friday that there are no obstacles to Iran becoming a member of SCO.

"There are no obstacles to a positive consideration of its [Iran's] membership application after the resolution of the situation on Iran's nuclear program and the lifting of UN sanctions," he said.

Churkin was addressing a meeting of the UN Security Council on the issue of the world body's cooperation with regional counterparts such as the SCO, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. SCO is a political, economic and military alliance that includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Belarus, Mongolia, Iran, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan hold observer status in the organization, while Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Armenia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka hold the status of dialogue partners.

Pakistan, India and Iran have officially applied for SCO membership. On July 10, 2015, the SCO decided to admit India and Pakistan as full members.

India and Pakistan signed the memorandum of obligations on June 24 during the SCO summit in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, thereby starting the formal process of joining the SCO as full members.  

Since 2008, Russia has been advocating the idea of Iran's SCO membership, but the process had been complicated by the sanctions regime against Tehran.

"We believe that after Iran's nuclear problem was solved and United Nations sanctions were lifted, there have been no obstacles left [for Iran's membership in SCO]," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a speech to the Tashkent summit.


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