The SCO, an opportunity to strengthen Eurasian convergence

By Hossein Amir Abdullahian

In today’s world, East and West have lost their traditional implications and have somehow been replaced by regionalism, even continentalism. Hegemonic control and unilateralism begin to decline, and the international community’s transition to a multipolar world and the redistribution of power in favor of independent countries are becoming unavoidable trends.

In such a situation, to maintain peace and strengthen the stability of our continent, Asia is not only a choice, but a necessity. In fact, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization could be considered one of the successful examples of regional alliances. The organization formed by a group of like-minded countries that seek to maintain order and the new Asian identity without the intervention of extra-regional powers.

The outstanding role of this organization in international relations becomes explicit by mentioning that the SCO is the largest regional organization in the world, covering more than 40% of the world’s population and around 25% of the world’s GDP. The economic aggregate of member states is about 20 trillion dollars, which has increased 13 times from the establishment of the SCO.

Considering that the Islamic Republic of Iran has always been in favor of dialogue, negotiation and diplomacy with all countries, rejected unilateral approaches and taking into account the fundamental principles of international law, including mutual respect for sovereignty, of independence and territorial integrity, joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization placed among its main foreign policy objectives which was achieved at the beginning of the 13e administration.

In this regard, the approval of Iran’s membership in the organization during H.E. Dr. Raisi’s visit to Dushanbe, Tajikistan by the SCO Council of Heads of State in September 2021, has been a diplomatic triumph that demonstrates our dedication to the pursuit of a “Balanced, Intelligent, Active and Dynamic” foreign policy and the “Pivot to Asia” initiative. This achievement will also be a milestone in developing our cooperation with SCO member states in all bilateral, regional and international dimensions.

It is time for member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to provide a bright future for the nations of the region by leveraging the enormous capacity and opportunities of multilateral cooperation. These capacities could withstand the organization and its members in the face of political, security, economic, commercial and cultural challenges.

Facilitating investments and expanding mutual economic cooperation that lead to sustainable development and stable security in the region would not be possible without providing security preconditions. Therefore, in order to achieve this goal, security threats and challenges in the region, such as the critical situation in Afghanistan, must be promptly brought to the attention of neighbors and SCO member states.

The considerable economic capabilities and comparative advantage of each member state of the organization have attracted the attention of the international community and provided remarkable opportunities for strategic partnership and extensive interaction among members.

Valuable areas of strategic cooperation between Iran and the organization could include transportation and Iran’s geographical advantages due to the proximity of the two important water bodies of the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, which allow SCO member states and observers to connect to the global supply chain and transfer goods and energy to other parts of the world through the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As a potential hub of Eurasian communication corridors and connecting link of infrastructure projects in the region, the Islamic Republic of Iran can play a vital role in the North-South Corridor and connect Central Asia and Russia. to India. Iran is located on the path of the most important and optimal corridor of the “Belt and Road” initiative, namely the China-Central Asia-Western Asia Economic Corridor, and it can connect the East with the Western Eurasia. In recent years, this route has been activated as road-rail or combined transport.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a responsible member of the international community, enjoys various capabilities and capacities in terms of regional cooperation such as enduring security and stability, rich energy resources, unique tourist attractions, the advantage geographical continuity and national solidarity, extensive historical and cultural ties with member states and observers, and rich cultural values ​​that can prevent the growth of extremism throughout the region.

Among Iran’s major export partners, China, India and Pakistan are ranked first, fifth and eighth, and among Iran’s major import partners, China and India are ranked first and fourth. In FY1400, Iran’s trade with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states reached $37 billion and $168 million, or about 30% of the country’s total foreign trade. Exports to SCO member states were 20 billion 596 million dollars and imports from Iran were 16 billion 572 million dollars.

Also read: Disengagement, SCO Meet and Beyond

HE Dr. Raisi. has positioned the promotion of relations and cooperation with the countries of the SCO region as one of the main pillars of its foreign policy, particularly with regard to the revitalization and facilitation of transport and transit corridors.

Providing safe, stable and reliable routes on the North-South corridor and at the same time taking advantage of the current infrastructure in Iran’s southern ports, especially the ocean port of Chabahar, are among Iran’s strategic policies for the development of regional cooperation and the expansion of a dynamic trade. trade with neighboring countries.

Also Read: Significance of SCO: It helps India gain a foothold in Eurasia

Taking into account the principles of the Islamic revolution manifested in the constitution, the membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, is the display of the country’s independence and in order to guarantee our national interests, given dignity, wisdom and opportunity.

To achieve this, over the past year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has implemented all its coordination capacities with other relevant internal organizations and the SCO Secretariat to complete the legal and administrative process of joining. a.s.a.p.

HE Dr. Raisi’s participation in the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan and the official bilateral trip and signing of 19 important cooperation documents between Tehran and Tashkent would be a crucial opportunity to advance the Eurasian diplomacy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The presence in the historic city of Samarkand, birthplace of the great Rudaki, father of Persian poetry, will bring a double sweetness to the Iranian delegation.

The author is Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed are personal and do not reflect the position or official policy of Financial Express Online.

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