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Multilateral cooperation prevailing as unilateralism takes last breaths: Iran’s deputy FM

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Ali Bagheri Kani (R) shakes hands with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Ryabkov, in Tehran on August 7, 2023.

Iran’s deputy foreign minister for political affairs says more and more countries are joining multilateral international organizations, like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), as a result of the declining influence of unilateralism.

During a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Ryabkov on Monday, Ali Bagheri-Kani highlighted the growing global trend of joining international economic mechanisms belonging to the multilateralism front, including the SCO and the BRICS group.

This “is the outcome of the waning of international mechanisms belonging to the unilateralism front,” he argued.

For decades after the Cold War, the world witnessed a US-led unipolar hegemonic order.

In recent years, however, a new multipolar world order has been emerging, with certain countries challenging the US's economic and political dominance.

Many states have been applying for membership in international bodies in a bid to promote multilateralism and counter unilateral policies.

Last month, Iran gained full membership in the SCO, the world’s largest regional organization in terms of geographic scope and population.

The country has also submitted a formal application to join the BRICS group of fast-developing economies, including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

In an address to a meeting of the Friends of BRICS Foreign Ministers in Cape Town in June, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said Iran is among the pioneers of multilateralism.

He added that Tehran and some of the BRICS countries are members of major arrangements for multilateral cooperation.

“For the Islamic Republic of Iran, BRICS can be the next significant target of our multilateralism policy. This is why we are among the first states that have officially declared interest to join BRICS and its frameworks of cooperation.”

During the meeting at the Iranian Foreign Ministry in Tehran, Ryabkov and Bagheri-Kani also discussed a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including bilateral relations, the latest regional and international developments, and the negotiations to lift Washington’s sanctions against Tehran.

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