SCO would Facilitate Iranian Economy: Dr. Akram Zaheer

Dr. Muhammad Akram Zaheer

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an organization led by China and Russia with the participation of some regional countries. Iran has been participating in the SCO since 2005 as an observer. It also has applied for full membership several times. It took more than 15 years for the endorsement of its permanent membership. Iran’s frustration with the United States prompted him to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. In addition, Afghanistan’s neighboring countries, including Iran, pay close attention to the country’s situation. In fact, they are trying to prevent large numbers of jihadists from entering Afghanistan, which might pose a threat and harm to regional countries particularly. The fight against terrorism is also one of the key issues of the SCO. By joining the SCO or strengthening counter-terrorism cooperation within the SCO framework, Iran will maximize its regional worth and security.

Iran has long been isolated by some Western countries, led by the United States. Washington continues to impose sanctions on Iran. Although US President Joe Biden’s administration has promised to restore the Iran nuclear deal, he has done nothing about lifting sanctions yet. The new Iranian president, Ibrahim Raisi, and his government have no illusions about improving Iran-US relations, and Raisi has repeatedly agreed to work with China and Russia. Due to the Iranian nuclear issue, the West has long considered Iran a doubtful and insecure to the international community. After the joining with the SCO; Iran will avoid such diplomatic and political isolation to the point of sightlessness. This means that Iran’s recognition as an important country of the region by some major powers will to bring significant political benefits for it. In terms of security, the SCO’s counter-terrorism efforts are much significant. Now Iran is a member of the SCO, it will cooperate in intelligence sharing and coordination with other member states. It will also serve as a strong deterrent to the possible spread of extremism in the future of Afghanistan.

Moscow has stated that Tehran plays important role in the region and works closely with SCO. According to the Tehran Times, during a telephone conversation between Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdullahian, Abdullahian thanked Wang for supporting Iran’s permanent membership in the SCO. On the other hand, China has been little bit cautious of Iran’s entry into the SCO because US-Iran tension. China had reservations about Iran’s membership, which had always taken a hard line against the United States, and China did not want to give the impression to the international community that the SCO was an organization aimed at competing with the United States. But, Beijing also hopes that Tehran would achieve peaceful coexistence with the Washington and never provide any chance to the United States for incitements. China and Iran have formally signed a 25-year long-term cooperation agreement in March, reflecting China’s desire to strengthen cooperation in various fields. Now Iran has become a member of the SCO, then strengthening ties with Iran is not a bad option for China.

This situation means that China and Russia have built up consensus on the regional issues. But it may take some time to complete all the procedures. Against the backdrop of the confrontation between China and the United States and between Russia and the United States, it would be a tendency for China, Russia and Iran to strengthen their cooperation and alliance. These three countries are much important to the region. Their solidarity, especially cooperation through the SCO platform, will serve as a counterbalance or deterrent for the United States. The newly appointed foreign minister of Iran Hossein Amir-Abdullahian welcomed the endorsement and states that “important impact of on the process of Iran’s comprehensive cooperation in the lines with its neighborhood and Asia centered policy”.

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