The Islamic Republic of Iran has recently succeeded in turning into a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which enjoys military, security and economic significance internationally.
In the last day of the 21st SCO Summit in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, the main member states of the organization unanimously supported Iran’s full membership. It is expected that such a diplomatic achievement will open a broad window of political, security, and economic cooperation with other member-states.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an effective regional and intra-state organization, which was established by leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan in 2001.
Prior to the 21st summit, the SCO consisted of eight permanent member-states, including India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan; as well as four observer states of Afghanistan, Belarus and Mongolia, and Iran; and six dialogue partners of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka.
The organization is of great importance because it has been established to strengthen regional security and stand against Western, NATO, and US unilateralism.
The SCO consists of 40 percent of land and one-fourth of the gross domestic product of the world, so it can provide Iran with a great opportunity to expand trade ties in the regional arena.
The SCO provides the member states with a bright future because it can help them end unilateralist policies and change the balance of power in favor of the East (Asia).
Joining the organization helps Iran foil American attempts to isolate the Islamic Republic because the SCO membership can uphold Tehran’s deterrence power. The change of Iran’s status will prompt other member-states to back the Islamic country in the face of hostile countries such as the United States.
Tehran can also rely on the multilateral mechanism of the SCO to upgrade its regional relationships and expand diplomatic and political exchanges.
Iran can use the organization as a platform to ink bilateral and multilateral financial contracts in a bid to evade the US sanctions. While the West has been trying to prevent Iran from attaining its foreign exchange resources, the full membership paves the way for Iran to use the assets.
China and India as two main member-states of the SCO can find a way to expand trade ties with Iran and import oil and gas from the Islamic nation.
The SCO has been connected to the Persian Gulf strategic area following Iran’s membership. Iran enjoys unique infrastructure such as railways, ports, and transit roads, which can play a key role in energy and commodities exchanges among SCO member states and other countries around the globe.