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Iran signs 'Memorandum of Commitment' for full SCO membership

September 15, 2022 at 2:45 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with China’s President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) leaders’ summit in Samarkand on September 15, 2022 [ALEXANDR DEMYANCHUK/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images]

Iran signed a Memorandum of Commitment, Wednesday, for its permanent membership in the powerful regional grouping, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Anadolu News Agency reports.

Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, announced in a Twitter post late Wednesday that he signed the document for his country’s full membership in the organisation ahead of the SCO summit in Uzbekistan, which begins Thursday.

“Now we have entered a new stage of various economic, commercial, transit, energy, etc. cooperation,” the top Iranian diplomat wrote.

He hastened to add that the organisation’s Secretary-General “congratulated” Iran for its permanent accession and called it an “important development”.

The Eurasian political, economic and security alliance was founded by China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in 2001 and is recognised as the world’s largest regional organisation, with eight members and four observer states.

Iran acquired observer status in the organisation in June 2005.

Its permanent membership in the powerful organisation was approved in September last year during the summit in Tajikistan, after a wait of almost 15 years.

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The technical and legal processes, which generally take time, began soon after, with President Ebrahim Raisi hailing it as one of his government’s diplomatic masterstrokes.

On Wednesday, he became the first Iranian President in 20 years to visit Uzbekistan, with his country set to end the lengthy wait.

Before leaving for the Uzbek city of Samarkand where the SCO summit will be held, Raisi described the purpose of his visit as the “reinforcement of the policy of good-neighbourliness, convergence, solidarity and promotion of multilateralism.”

“In the first step of developing the neighbourhood policy, we were able to strengthen mutual political trust in the region,” he said. “In the second step, we are pursuing the effective role of Iran and its active presence in the region.”

On Iran’s permanent membership in the SCO, he said his government had approved the documents following a review and the legal procedures were currently under way.

Raisi said Iran seeks to benefit from “the infrastructure that exists in Asia and the neighbouring countries” as an SCO member.

Earlier on Wednesday, Iranian government spokesman, Ali Bahadori Jahromi told reporters in Tehran that the draft outlining Iran’s SCO membership had been submitted to the country’s parliament for approval.

The SCO summit will be held Thursday and Friday and brings together top world leaders, including Russian President, Vladimir Putin, and Chinese leader, Xi Jinping.

“The world is coming to Samarkand” is the theme for the annual meeting this year, hosted by Uzbek President, Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

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