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Joining SCO allows Iran to increase its political clout, Iranian expert thinks

According to Hassan Beheshtipour, joining the SCO is an excellent opportunity for Tehran to deepen its interaction with Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Central Asian countries

TEHRAN, September 14. /TASS/. Joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) should increase Tehran’s political authority and influence, according to academic council member at the Institute for Iran-Eurasia Studies Hassan Beheshtipour in a conversation with a TASS correspondent on Tuesday.

"Iran may use this opportunity to deepen regional interaction and increase its [political] clout and influence," he said. According to the expert, Iran is joining the SCO "in the conditions of [increased] regional cooperation which can counteract the US’ one-sided policy." "For Tehran, this is an excellent opportunity to deepen its interaction with countries comprising the SCO, including Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Central Asian countries," he added.

At the same time, the expert noted that since 2001, the SCO did not have a significant impact on international cooperation in the majority of cases. "However, this organization may be effective in the sphere of economic and political interaction as well as in the fight with extremism," he said.

According to the expert, "today we are talking about the beginning of the process of Iran joining the organization because a full-fledged membership implies the signing of several agreements." "This is a rather lengthy process but it is a good start," he added.

On September 12, the department of information and press of Tajikistan’s Foreign Ministry reported that the heads of state of the SCO member countries will approve Iran’s full-fledged membership at the SCO during an anniversary summit in Dushanbe on September 17.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a regional international union that includes Russia, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia take on the role of observer states. Six countries serve as the SCO dialogue partners - Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka. Since 2004, the SCO serves as an observer at the UN General Assembly. Tajikistan is chairing the SCO in 2021.