RUSSIA.Moscow: In a bid to overcome economic solitude amid rising tensions with the U.S. over imposed sanctions, Iran has officially signed a Memorandum of Obligations to align itself as a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Thursday.
“By signing the document for full membership of the SCO, now Iran has entered a new stage of various economic, commercial, transit and energy cooperation,” the foreign minister wrote on his Instagram page.
The rapidly-expanding Asian security body, which is founded by two superpower allies, China and Russia, approved Iran’s application for accession last year.
Meanwhile, Tehran’s tough leaders called on other members of the body to help it form a mechanism to avert sanctions imposed by the West, especially the U.S. over its highly conflicting nuclear programme.
Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi was in the Silk Road oasis of Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday to attend a summit convening all members of the organisation. The state-run Iranian media reported that the leader was expected to meet their Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
The body was formed in 2001, mostly as a talking shop for China, Russia and other ex-Soviet states in Central Asia, which eventually included India and Pakistan four years ago.
The main objective of the security body was to play a heavy role as a form of antagonistic or counterweight measure to Western influence and control in the region.
Following its permanent membership to the committee, Iran is now authorised to partake in meetings, although it is likely to take some time to achieve full membership, deputy secretary-general of the body Grigory Logvinov told the Russian state TV, which also reported the signing.
Iran has suffered huge financial and economic setbacks after former POTUS Donald Trump withdrew American support from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, including Russia and China.
Following the deal fiasco with the U.S., that led to escalating tensions and a rocky relationship with the First World nation, Tehran has engaged in several months of indirect talks and negotiations with its American counterparts to revive the nuclear deal.
Iran agreed to a renewal of the deal that aims to curb its nuclear programme in exchange for lifting imposed sanctions.