Unlike other international and regional organizations, each of which is somehow under the influence by the United States and Europe, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which describes itself as the “antidote to Western domination” has been a successful regional and global organization since its establishment in 2001. It has acted independently free from any influence of the United States and European countries. Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the only organization in which the “Anglo-Saxon sphere of civilization” has not been established.

Iran’s membership

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with the aim of striking a “balance” between US and NATO influence in the region. China and Russia have a key role to play in this organization. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been an observer member of the organization since 2005 and has always sought to change its membership status to permanent, but this was not possible due to various reasons, including the internal rules of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and opposition by some members.

Finally, at the 20th Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was recently held in Tajikistan, the document on the permanent membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran was accepted by the leaders, which is considered an “important strategic step.”

Currently, with Iran as a member state, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has nine permanent members, three observer members and six dialogue partners; It will account for about 44 percent of the world’s population, 25 percent of the world’s landmass, 25 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, 65 percent of the world’s market, 30 percent of gas reserves, 50 percent of uranium reserves and 25 percent of the world’s oil reserves.

 

The process of completion of permanent membership of Iran will take a maximum of two years due to the rules and procedures that exist in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Reducing this time to less than a year requires speeding up internal and external mechanisms in this regard. Care must be taken to ensure that there is no unusual political dispute between Iran and members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization during this period, at a time when hostile regional and international forces are concerned about Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

At present, accelerating the completion of Iran’s internal membership mechanisms in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the most important priority to be considered. In this regard, the role of the Islamic Consultative Assembly is considered special due to its role in approving Iran’s membership in international and regional organizations, and it is necessary for Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to be approved by the MPs as soon as possible.

Opportunities and achievements

With the confirmation of our country’s permanent membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, specifically in the two fields of “economic-commercial” and “political-security”, important opportunities will be presented to Iran.

In the economic field, Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will improve the country’s economic indicators in the field of foreign trade and will facilitate and accelerate the bases and grounds for Iran’s rapid entry into the 3.5 billion-strong eastern market, which is one of the most profitable and valuable economic markets in the world today and in the future. At the same time, the volume of international trade with a focus on Asian goods is expected to more than double.

Connectivity with Asian underground resources, creating a free trade zone with member countries, strengthening foreign investment, boosting Iran’s port activities, expanding banking cooperation, guaranteeing Iran’s energy market and increasing Iran’s economic capacity are other opportunities for Iran in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

In the field of political-security opportunities, the permanent membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization also promotes mutual credibility, prestige and international influence. Iran is now a member of a collective security organization comprising four nuclear powers, Russia, China, India and Pakistan, of which Russia and China are permanent members of the Security Council.

At the same time, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization plays a balancing role on the international stage against the United States, European countries and NATO, and has called on the United States to withdraw all its forces and military bases from the territory of its member states. Iran has been a member of various regional organizations, including the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Economic Cooperation Organization, etc., but among them, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the largest in terms of quantity and quality, which has the most civilizational and cultural commonalities and even common political views with Iran.

Strategic Consequences

“Breaking the monopoly of the West” in Iran’s foreign relations, which has always been prominent in the field of foreign relations, and “creating balance and diversity in the field of foreign relations”, especially by promoting and strengthening the doctrine of Asianism and expanding foreign relations with China, Russia, India and other countries. Asia is one of the “important strategies” that has been on the agenda in the last one or two years, according to the instructions of the Leader of the Islamic Revolution.

After signing a comprehensive 25-year strategic partnership document with China and consulting on signing a strategic partnership document with Russia, accepting Iran’s permanent membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is the “third step” that determines Tehran’s path to Asianism, which will certainly have important results. In addition, permanent membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization can provide the grounds for strong interaction and possible entry of Iran into the BRICS Union, which has more than 50% of the world’s population and 42% of world turnover.

After the signing of the 25-year document with China, membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization should be considered the second “win-win” game of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the field of foreign relations. In the field of foreign policy, as well as the “expansion of security cooperation” and the development of “strategic relations in the economic field” is considered important. This will not only strengthen Iran’s regional and even global position, but will also significantly improve regional cooperation.