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Iran's SCO membership will generate growing capacity: FM

The combined photo shows Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (L) and Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Zhang Ming.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says he is confident Iran's membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will provide the SCO with a growing capacity.

Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a Friday phone conversation with the SCO Secretary-General Zhang Ming amid reports about the formal approval of Iran's full membership next week.

He said the Iranian parliament and administration, particularly the Foreign Ministry, have made substantial efforts to prepare and approve all the documents pertaining to the country's full membership.

Earlier on Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Iran will be formally approved as a member of the SCO. "At the upcoming meeting of heads of state on July 4, the full membership of Iran will be approved," Lavrov said.

The top Iranian diplomat hailed efforts and cooperation by the SCO secretary-general to complete the process of the full membership.

Amir-Abdollahian said Iran is ready to take part in the SCO's next meeting, which is scheduled to be held virtually.

He said Iran would officially introduce its coordinator to the organization's secretariat in the coming week.

Iran first applied for membership in the alliance 15 years ago, but it took until 2021 for the request to be approved.

The SCO, which has its headquarters in China, is a diplomatic organization with eight members, namely Russia, India, Pakistan, and Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Set up in 2001, the organization’s members work to tackle joint security issues, cooperate militarily and promote internal trade.

Iran and the organization started a formal process for Tehran’s accession in March 2022. In September of the same year, Iran signed a memorandum of commitment to join the SCO. A month later, the Iranian parliament approved the country's accession. On March 7, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi underscored the role the SCO could play in creating international convergence and confronting unilateralism.

Zhang said on Friday Iran's full-fledged membership at the SCO would be officially announced during the next SCO meeting on July 4. As a full member, the Islamic Republic would then have all the rights as other member countries of the organization, he said. Iran plays a leading role in promoting the SCO objectives, the secretary-general stated.

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