President Ebrahim Raisi sends a message of regional multilateralism as Iran fully joins the influential Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Tehran, Iran – President Ebrahim Raisi has said that Iran wants closer ties with its regional neighbors and rejected US “unilateralism” as his country became a full member of the influential Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Iran said on Friday that it had been accepted as the organization’s eighth full member during its annual conference in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe. Senior officials from other full member states attended, namely China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
Iran has had observer status for the past 15 years. He hopes that full membership will help boost his economy and regional standing.
In a speech at the summit, the newly elected Raisi predominantly emphasized his main stated foreign policy goal, which is to expand political, economic and cultural ties with countries in the region and protect Iran from unilateral punishments from the West.
He said Iran’s geopolitical position, population, energy supply, transportation potential, workforce and culture can provide a “significant boost” to major regional master plans, including the Belt and Road Initiative. from China.
“The world has entered a new era,” Raisi said. “Hegemony and unilateralism are failing. The international balance is moving towards multilateralism and the redistribution of power for the benefit of independent countries. “
In this regard, the Iranian president referred to “sanctions or economic terrorism” as major obstacles to regional progress, and called on the SCO member states to develop structures and mechanisms to combat sanctions as a group.
“Unilateral sanctions are not just against one country,” he said. “As has become evident in recent years, the sanctions have targeted more independent countries, especially members of the organization.”
Iran has been under harsh US sanctions since 2018, when former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from a 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers.
On the nuclear deal, Raisi said he saw diplomacy as a tool to secure national interests. But he said it was only effective when all countries complied with it.
“Unfortunately, some countries believe they can turn diplomacy to their advantage by using the tools of threats and pressure,” he said in another veiled message to the United States, as Iran and other signatories to the nuclear deal are expected to return to Vienna soon. to resume conversations. restoring the agreement.
The president said nothing can stop Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear activities, days after European powers again called on Iran to reduce its nuclear program at the end of the last International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) conference.
Raisi also listed the COVID-19 pandemic, terrorism, the environment, cyber security, and organized crime as other challenges facing SCO members that can be addressed in unison.
The Iranian president, who landed in Dushanbe on Thursday, held a series of high-level talks with his SCO peers, including bilateral meetings with various heads of state and a multilateral meeting on Afghanistan.
Raisi was also scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in person, but the two agreed to arrange a meeting for the foreseeable future after the latter had to quarantine himself after people in his inner circle gave positive for coronavirus.