Iran’s foreign minister announced on Thursday that Tehran has signed a Memorandum of Obligations to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) permanently as it works to end its economic isolation due to American sanctions.
Iran has now entered a new stage of different economic, commercial, transit, and energy cooperation after signing the document for full membership in the SCO, according to Hossein Amirabdollahian on his Instagram page.
Iran’s application for membership in the rapidly growing central Asian security organisation, whose founding heavyweights are China and Russia, was approved last year. At the same time, Tehran’s hardline leaders urged members to support Iran in creating a mechanism to avoid Western sanctions over its contentious nuclear programme.
Ebrahim Raisi, the president of Iran, was in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday for an organisation summit. Samarkand is a Silk Road oasis. According to Iranian media, he was scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The organisation, which was established in 2001 as a meeting place for ex-Soviet governments in Central Asia, Russia, and China, was enlarged to include India and Pakistan four years ago with the goal of acting as a stronger counterweight to Western influence in the area.
Iran will now be able to participate in meetings, though it may still take some time for it to become a full member, said Grigory Logvinov, the organization’s deputy secretary-general, according to Russian state TV, which also reported the signing.
Since 2018, when then-U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of Tehran’s nuclear agreement with major powers including Russia and China, the Iranian economy has suffered greatly.
- Months of indirect negotiations between Iran and the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden have come to a standstill due to a number of barriers to reviving the nuclear agreement, under which Tehran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.