Iran General NewsIran may have to wait on SCO membership

Iran may have to wait on SCO membership

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ImageUPI: Iran's bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization depends on whether the Euro-Asian alliance decides to expand, its leader said Tuesday.

United Press International

ImageIran's bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization depends on whether the Euro-Asian alliance decides to expand, its leader said Tuesday.

Secretary-General Bolat Nurgaliyev said at a Moscow-Beijing video conference that members disagree about whether to add more states, the Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status, and Pakistan also has applied to become a full member. The current membership includes Russia, China and the central Asian states of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.

Tajikistan is the current president.

The organization, conceived as a counterweight to NATO, is mostly concerned with defense issues and now with energy. China and Russia are both wary of admitting Iran as a full member because of its dispute with the United States and Europe over its nuclear program.

A meeting of member-nation heads of states is scheduled for August in Tajikistan.

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