The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, or SCO, was founded two decades ago in St. Petersburg and currently has eight members representing half the world’s population and a quarter of its economic output.
Iran is finally set to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) after Tajikistan and Uzbekistan agreed to drop their objections. Iran had originally applied to join in 2006 and 2015, however with the country like landlocked Tajikistan and Uzbekistan also bordering Afghanistan in addition to offering seaport access to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, both nations have opted to welcome Iran as an ally.
The secretary of the SCO’s Supreme National Security Council stated, “Fortunately, the political obstacles to Iran’s membership in the Shanghai agreement have been removed and Iran’s membership will be finalized through technical formalities.” Iran has instead been an observer nation since 2005, at the same time as India and Pakistan. The latter two joined as full members in 2017, leaving Iran to wait.
However, pressing regional security developments in Afghanistan require Iran’s full cooperation to resolve, with the Taliban now occupying all borders with Iran, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, together with sections of both the Turkmenistan and Pakistan borders. Iranian full membership will provide a significant boost to the SCO’s overall security planning and assist Tajikistan and Uzbekistan with intelligence and possible military assistance.
Without Iran’s active presence and its role as the link between East and West in China’s plan, it will be difficult to achieve the goals of reviving the Silk Road, and China is well aware of this. Because in both land and sea routes, Iran’s geopolitical position on the Silk Road is vital.
The “economic belt”, which covers the land route of the Silk Road and is the ancient route of the Silk Road, connects China to Eastern and Western Europe through Central Asia and West Asia, and the countries of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Turkey, Ukraine. It includes Poland, Belgium, France and finally Italy.
Trade studies of the level of development in Central Asia show that they provide good opportunities to advance their own and Iran’s export goals.
Iran can expand its exports to these countries in various fields, including energy (oil, gas, and electricity) much needed to reconstruct Afghanistan.