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Iran signs memorandum of commitments to join SCO

Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

Iran hails signing a memorandum of commitments to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), thus entering a "new phase" of interaction with the body.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced signing the document in a tweet on Wednesday.

The top diplomat is accompanying Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi on a visit to the city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan, which is slated to host a summit of the SCO.

"Tonight, in the historical city of Samarkand, I signed the memorandum of commitments of Iran's permanent membership at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, with the [body's] secretary-general," Amir-Abdollahian wrote in the tweet.

"Now, we have entered a new stage of diverse economic, commercial, transit, energy, etc. cooperation [with the body's member states]," the foreign minister added.

The SCO's Secretary-General Zhang Ming, Amir-Abdollahian added, congratulated the Islamic Republic on the occasion of Iran's "permanent accession" and signing of the document, calling it an "important development."

The SCO was founded by China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan in 2001, and currently forms the world's biggest regional market with eight official members, and three observer states.

Iran and the organization started a formal process for Tehran’s accession to the bloc in March. Iran's membership in the body was later approved by the Iranian administration.

Also on Wednesday, Ali Bahadori Jahromi, the Iranian government's spokesman, said draft legislation outlining Iran's membership in the organization had been submitted to Majlis (the Iranian parliament) for approval.

Before departing on the trip to Uzbekistan, President Raeisi referred to the prospect of Iran's formal accession to the SCO, saying the Islamic Republic was seeking to avail itself of "the infrastructure that exists in Asia and [in] the neighboring countries."

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