Expert: SCO membership likely to be an option for Iran

Iran Materials 12 September 2013 16:09 (UTC +04:00)

Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 12 / Trend, S. Isayev

The membership within SCO (Shanqhai Cooperation Organization) is likely to be an option for Iran, long-term wise, Senior fellow at Nanyang Technological University's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, James M. Dorsey told Trend.

He was commenting on the possibility of Iran becoming a full member of the SCO.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Iran's president Hassan Rouhani started his official visit to Bishkek, Kyrgyz capital to participate in the summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization today. This 2-day visit is his first foreign visit since taking office on August 4.

Iran maintains an observer status in the SCO, along with India, Mongolia and Pakistan, while Belarus, Turkey and Sri Lanka are dialogue partners.

"The SCO is important to Iran given that it groups countries many of which have been more sympathetic to its position and are important trading partners," Dorsey said.

He went on to note that the organization is also of importance to Iran because of its links to both Central Asia and Caucasus.

"Longer term, SCO membership is likely to be an option as the grouping seeks to expand its influence," Dorsey said. "The risk of course is that over time that sharper differences within the SCO are likely to emerge."