Uzbekistan’s foreign minister made the announcement yesterday. Iran will sign the memorandum of obligation at the SCO summit in the Central Asian country. Iran’s deputy foreign minister proposes a single currency for SCO members to facilitate economic integration. This is the first time Iran joins an international organisation since the Islamic Revolution.
Tehran (AsiaNews) – Iran will become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with the signing of the memorandum of obligation at a summit in Samarkand, on 15-16 September.
“This year, within Uzbekistan's chairmanship, Iran, as an observer state will ... become a full-fledged member of the SCO,” RIA Novosti quoted Uzbek Foreign Minister Vladimir Norov as saying yesterday during a meeting in Moscow.
Iran took one step closer to full membership on 17 September last year when its application was accepted 15 years after it was made. On that date, SCO began the country's accession, which usually takes “a fair amount of time”, up to two years.
Last month, Iran's deputy foreign minister responsible for economic diplomacy, Mehdi Safari, proposed the bloc adopt a single currency to facilitate economic integration among members.
SCO came into being more than 20 years ago to solve territorial disputes in Central Asia among the six founding members: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
Over time, it expanded into other areas, most notably security, economy, energy, culture and the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism.
It emerged out of the Shanghai Five, who later joined by Uzbekistan, and is led by the Council of Heads of State, which meets once a year. Russia and China dominate the organisation.
Amid growing tensions, Russia looks to Central Asia to extend its sphere of influence, while clashing with China behind the scenes because of the latter’s growing presence, at least economic.
Iran has long been an observer member along with Mongolia, India and Pakistan (the latter two now permanent members). Belarus and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners. Along with Afghanistan, Iran has been a dialogue partner on reconstruction since 2005.
This is the first time Iran has officially joined an international body since the 1979 revolution.