US now wary of SCO: Iranian diplomat

Iran Materials 31 October 2006 18:20 (UTC +04:00)

(IRNA) - An Iranian diplomat said here Tuesday that the United States has become wary of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) after Iran acquired observer status in this regional organization.

Iranian Ambassador to Switzerland Mohammad-Kazem Sajjadpour's remarks came as he addressed the 14th international conference of Central Asia and the Caucasus dubbed `Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO): Prospects and Opportunities' which opened here Monday, reports Trend.

"The US was not sensitive to the SCO but become sensitive after Iran was accepted as an observer in June," he said.

China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are the six members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization while the Islamic Republic of Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia have been granted observer status.

Referring to China's leading role in the organization, increasingly seen as a cooperation among major oil-producing states in the region to the exclusion of the US, he said that "Beijing and Washington both have concerns in this regard which each should pay attention to."

The envoy, quoting Pentagon's figures, noted that China's military budget has been steadily increasing in the past years and has now reached USD 100 billion.

He said the balance of US-China trade is in Beijing's favor and that China has a 200-billion-dollar trade surplus with the US.

"China-US ties are not such as would lead Beijing to adopt anti-US moves and turn the SCO into an anti-American organization.

"So, it is an obvious mistake to think that the SCO is a cold war organization," Sajjadpour said.