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Iran is now major player on both regional and global levels, foreign minister says

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has said the Islamic Republic is a principal player in the West Asia region with a great deal of influence on regional developments.

“Iran is a major actor in the region with an effective power on regional developments. At the international sphere, Iran is today viewed as one of the outstanding players,” Amir-Abdollahian told IRIB news agency in an exclusive interview published on Thursday.

He said Iran is involved in all topics and discussions concerning the creation of a new world order.

Describing the Islamic Republic as an influential country in Asia, Amir-Abdollahian said Tehran has applied for membership in regional blocs, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS group of emerging countries, including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, as well as the Eurasian Economic Union.

Iran's accession to the SCO will be completed next month, the Iranian foreign minister said. “We will become a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in July, when the next summit of the association is set to take place.”

On September 15-16, 2022, the southeastern Uzbek city of Samarkand hosted an SCO summit attended by President Ebrahim Raeisi of Iran. The Islamic Republic signed a memorandum of commitment to obtain the status of a member state. The next summit will be held on July 4 under the chairmanship of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a virtual format.

The SCO was founded by China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan in 2001. It 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 in March 2022. Iran's membership was later approved by the Iranian administration.

Elsewhere in his remarks on Thursday, Amir-Abdollahian pointed to the latest visit by Sultan of Oman Haitham bin Tariq Al Said to Tehran, stating that the trip was in response to the visit that President Raeisi paid to the Persian Gulf kingdom in May 2022.

The top Iranian diplomat said the Sultan’s visit mainly focused on bilateral relations and implementation of mutual agreements already signed between the two countries. Amir-Abdollahian said Iran and Oman seek to finalize a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement in the near future.

Trade exchanges between Tehran and Muscat have more than doubled since last year, prompting the Omani side to seek a comprehensive cooperation agreement. Foreign ministers from both countries are working on the matter, technical teams have hence performed in-depth surveys and the accord will be finalized soon, Amir-Abdollahian said.

On Afghanistan, the foreign minister said Iran and its eastern neighbor share a border of about 900 kilometers and the two countries have a lot in common. Amir-Abdollahian said Iran hosts a large number of Afghan refugees, and the two nations have many religious and cultural commonalities.

Amir-Abdollahian also touched down on recent skirmishes between Iranian border guards and Taliban forces, underscoring that Taliban officials have clearly stated that the clashes were merely unintended.

The Iranian foreign minister said Iran’s water rights from the Helmand (Hirmand) River is a major priority of the government. He said the country will explore all legal and political channels in this regard.

President Raeisi has assigned Iranian Ambassador to Afghanistan Hassan Kazemi Qomi to seriously pursue the water rights, Amir-Abdollahian said.


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