Shanghai Cooperation Organisation — an opportunity to Bolster Eurasian Convergence
In today’s world, East and West have lost their traditional influence and in a way it has been replaced by regionalism or continentalism.
Hegemonic control and unilateralism are disappearing and the transition of the international community towards a multipolar world and redistribution of power in favor of independent countries are becoming inevitable trends.
In such a situation, maintaining peace and strengthening stability in our Asian continent is not only a choice but a necessity. In fact, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) can be considered one of the most successful examples of regional integration.
The organization is formed by a group of like-minded countries that want to maintain peace and a new Asian identity without interference from non-regional powers.
As the world’s largest regional organization, the SCO plays an outstanding role in covering more than 40% of the world’s population and generating about 25% of global GDP.
The total value of economic transactions between the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is around 20 trillion dollars, a 13-fold increase compared to the period of its first establishment.
As the Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes dialogue, negotiation and diplomacy and rejects unilateral approach in its relations with other countries, keeping in mind the fundamental principles of international law such as mutual respect for sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. does, so Tehran is preferred. A key foreign policy objective, joining the SCO.
This was realized in the first year of Ibrahim Raisi’s presidency when Iran became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
In this regard, the approval of Iran’s membership in the SCO by the SCO heads of state during President Raisi’s visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan in September 2021, was a diplomatic victory for a “balanced, smart, active and dynamic” ” proves our dedication to achieving Foreign policy perspective and the theory of “Asian multilateralism”.
This achievement marks a milestone in the development of our cooperation with SCO member countries in all bilateral, regional and international dimensions.
It is time for SCO member states to take advantage of the vast potential and opportunities of multilateral cooperation to offer a promising future for the nations of the region. These capabilities can strengthen and strengthen the organization and its members against political, security, economic, commercial and cultural challenges.
Facilitating investment and expanding economic cooperation and mutual trade leading to sustainable development and stable security in the region will not be possible without providing security conditions.
Therefore, to achieve this goal, security threats and challenges in the region, such as the fragile situation in Afghanistan, should be urgently brought to the attention of neighbors and SCO member states.
The significant economic capabilities and comparative advantage of each member state of the organization have attracted the attention of the international community and provided significant opportunities for strategic partnerships and broad interaction among members.
Among the valuable areas of strategic cooperation between Iran and the SCO could be connectivity in light of Iran’s geographical advantages in proximity to two important water bodies, the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, which enable its member and observer states. . Shanghai Cooperation Organization to connect to the global supply chain and transfer and deliver goods and energy to other parts of the world through the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As a potential hub for the Eurasian transit and transport corridor and the region’s infrastructure projects, the Islamic Republic of Iran can play an important role in strengthening the North-South Corridor and connecting Central Asia and Russia to the subcontinent.
Iran is located on the path of one of the most important and useful corridors of the “Belt and Road Initiative”, namely the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor, which can bridge East to West Eurasia. Over the years, this route operated as a railroad or a form of combined transportation.
As a responsible member of the region and the entire international community, the Islamic Republic of Iran has numerous capacities and capabilities in regional cooperation such as sustainable security and stability, rich energy resources, unique tourist destinations, and taking advantage of geographical synergies. . and national solidarity, broad historical and cultural ties with SCO member states and observers, as well as rich cultural values that can prevent the spread of extremism across the region.
Among Iran’s top ten export partners, China, India and Pakistan are ranked first, fifth and eighth respectively. Among Iran’s five major import partners, China and India are ranked first and fourth. In 2021, Iran’s trade with SCO member countries exceeded $37 billion, which is about 30 percent of the country’s total foreign trade. During the same period, Iran’s exports and imports to SCO member countries were $20.5 billion and $16.5 billion, respectively.
Enhancing relations and cooperation with the countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is one of the main pillars of President Raisi’s foreign policy, particularly in terms of promoting and facilitating transport and transit corridors.
Iran provides safe, stable and reliable routes along the North-South Corridor and at the same time enjoys significant infrastructure in its southern port, particularly the sea port of Chabahar.
These are among Iran’s strategic policies to develop regional cooperation and expand dynamic trade exchanges with neighboring countries.
Taking into account the principles of the Islamic Revolution enshrined in the constitution, Iran’s full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a manifestation of the country’s independence and serves to protect our national interests in the light of dignity, wisdom and expediency.
In this regard, during the past year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, together with other relevant national institutions and the Secretariat of the SCO, has used all its special capabilities to complete the legal and administrative process of full membership. can go. minimum time.
President Raisi’s visit to Uzbekistan to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Council of Heads of State provides an important opportunity to advance the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Eurasian diplomacy.
Undoubtedly, the official visit to Uzbekistan and the signing of 17 important cooperation documents, as well as a visit to the historic city of Samarkand, the birthplace of Rudaki, the father of Persian poetry, will be a memorable occasion for the Iranian delegation.
This article on the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit was written by Hossein Amir Abdullahian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran and shared by the Iranian Embassy.