NewsSpecial WireIran requests membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Iran requests membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organization

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Iran Focus: Tehran, Iran, Mar. 24 – Iran has made an official request to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Monday. Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Mar. 24 – Iran has made an official request to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Monday.

The SCO is made up of China and Russia, as well as ex-Soviet Central Asian states Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It was founded in Shanghai on 15 June 2001.

Its member states cover an area of over 30 million km squared, or about three fifths of Eurasia, with a population of 1.455 billion, about a quarter of the world’s total.

Tehran currently has an observer status in the SCO, seen as a counterbalance to U.S. and NATO influence in the region.

“Tajikistan supports us in this issue”, Mottaki said after a meeting with the foreign ministers of SCO member Tajikistan and Afghanistan, which is another SCO observer along with India, Pakistan and Mongolia, Russian news agency RIA Novosti said.

The bloc – which primarily addresses security issue but has recently moved to embrace energy projects – has indefinitely postponed accepting new members, but pledged closer cooperation with the observer states.

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