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Iran’s top leaders to take part in SCO summit in Russia — ambassador

May 22, 2015, 19:07 UTC+3

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Ufa is expected to adopt a political decision on the organization’s expansion

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UFA, May 22. /TASS/. Iran’s top leaders will take part in a Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s (SCO) summit in Ufa on July 9-10, Iran’s Ambassador to Russia Mehdi Sanaei said on Friday.

"Iran will take part at a top level," he said. "However, it is not yet known who will take part."

The Iranian diplomat praised Ufa for good preparations for the forthcoming forums. "The city is seriously developing," he noted.

Russia’s and Iran’s leaders, according to the Iranian diplomat, "have very good communication." They have had a number of meetings and telephone conversations, he noted.

"Relations between our regions have been given a serious impetus in the recent years," Sanaei said. "In 2014, eight Russian governors visited Iran, our governors visited Russia. The program for 2015 includes a visit by top officials of Russia’s Chelyabinsk region, the cities of St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. In general, relations between our countries are expanding," he said.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a regional international association that was set up on June 15, 2001 in Shanghai, China. Its top priority areas of activities are joint anti-terrorism and anti-extremism efforts, cooperation in the energy, oil and gas, transport, telecommunications and other sectors.

Currently, members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Mongolia, India, Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan enjoy the observer status. In September 2014, Pakistan and India officially applied for full-fledged membership in the organization. Iran also seeks such membership. Belarus, Sri Lanka and Turkey have a status of a dialogue partner.

Aggregate population of the SCO member countries stands at 1.597 billion (a fourth of the entire global population). Aggregate GDP is $11.6 trillion.

Earlier, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the SCO summit in Ufa would adopt a political decision on the organization’s expansion. The leaders would consider the applications from a number of countries, including India and Pakistan. Iran has also applied to membership. "I hope the progress reached in the settlement of the Iranian nuclear programme will help consider its application," Lavrov said.

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