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    Belarus signed a memorandum of intent to become a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

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    Iran officially joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The decision was made at the 23rd summit of the organization chaired by India.

    “Member states stressed the historic significance of the admission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the SCO as a full member state,” the declaration adopted at the end of the online summit says.

    Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said during his speech at the summit that this decision will provide the country with conditions for strengthening sovereignty and security, as well as sustainable economic development.

    He urged to switch to settlements in national currencies.

    “The hegemony of the Western world contributes to the hegemony of the dollar. In order to create a new economic order, it is necessary to remove this tool of hegemony in world practice,” Raisi said.

    The President added that Tehran will expand cooperation with Moscow to create transport corridors in the region. Iran became the ninth member of the SCO.

    “From now on, the SCO space, taking into account both new members and dialogue partner states, extends from Europe and the Middle East to South and Southeast Asia. Of course, consideration of additional applications from interested countries continues,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on June 30.

    What does this mean for Iran?

    “This agreement will help us lay the foundations for a healthy trade relationship without the influence of the West…and the dollar. The region has everything, there are raw materials, there are untapped markets for the sale of our products,” Marhaba said.

    Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani stated that the admission of the country to the SCO would be beneficial both for the organization and for Tehran.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Tehran on joining the organization.

    “I am pleased to say that Iran is joining the SCO family as a full member. I wish all the best to President Raisi and the people of Iran,” Modi said.

    He also stated that Belarus had signed a memorandum of intent to become a member of the SCO.

    “The process of Belarus joining the SCO will be completed by the next SCO summit in 2024,” said Indian First Deputy Foreign Minister Vinay Kvatra.

    Who is in the organization

    Iran has been an observer of the SCO since 2005, but could not join the organization earlier due to sanctions imposed on it by the UN Security Council, the European Union and the United States. After 2016, some of the restrictions were lifted, as Iran pledged not to produce nuclear weapons as part of the agreement. In September 2022, at the summit of the association in Samarkand, the country signed a memorandum of commitment in order to join the SCO.

    The association was founded on June 15, 2001 in Shanghai. Since its foundation, the organization has included Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and in 2017 Pakistan and India joined them.

    SCO dialogue partners are Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Cambodia, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In May 2023, this status was granted by the UAE.

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