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Russia FM to raise issue of Iran joining Shanghai Cooperation Organization

May 24, 2016, 10:23 UTC+3 TASHKENT

The Council of Foreign Ministers of SCO member countries meets today in Tashkent

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© Viktor Drachyov/TASS

TASHKENT, May 24. /TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov plans to raise an issue of Iran’s possible accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at today’s session of the Council of Foreign Ministers, Russian presidential envoy for SCO Bakhtiyer Khakimov told reporters on Tuesday.

"For instance, we will remind about Iran’s application, and there is also an application from Afghanistan. If we talk strictly about chronology, Iran filed its first application in 2006. However, Tehran official filed a correctly organized application only in 2008. So there is common understanding that Iran is a real candidate for joining SCO as an official full-fledged member. We do not see any obstacles, taking into account the fact that sanctions are being lifted (from Tehran)," Khakimov said.

"I know that our minister (Lavrov) will voice this, and this topic is under discussion. Our minister will propose this, and colleagues unofficially discussed it yesterday (during a working dinner). It was announced that we do not mind in principle," he added.

The Council of Foreign Ministers of SCO member countries meets today in Tashkent. In 2016, Uzbekistan chairs the organization, and the SCO summit will be held in Tashkent on June 23-24.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a permanent regional international association, the establishment of which was announced on June 15, 2001, in Shanghai. The organization brings together Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

During the SCO summit in Ufa on July 9 and July 10 the start of the admission procedure for India and Pakistan was announced. The leaders of the SCO member-countries also decided to grant Belarus observer status, while Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia and Nepal became dialogue partners.

SCO priority spheres include joint fight against terrorism and extremism, cooperation in the spheres of education, energy, transport, and telecommunications. The total population of SCO countries is almost 1.6 billion people, and the total GDP of the member countries is $11.6 trillion.

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