The 21st summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has opened in Dushanbe, with Chinese President Xi Jinping telling it that Iran will be accepted as a full member of the Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance.
Leaders from eight member states and four observer states attended the annual summit on Friday, with the Chinese leader addressing it virtually along with Russian, Indian and Mongolian presidents.
Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi and his counterparts from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan attended in person.
After the summit, the participants were expected to decide on granting Iran full membership at the SCO and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt the status of dialog partner.
Xi criticized sanctions imposed on world economic exchanges, urging SCO members to stay united against attacks by other countries.
Raeisi meets with Kazakh counterpart
On Friday, Raeisi described developments in Afghanistan as a common issue for all regional countries during a meeting with Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Dushanbe.
“Afghanistan's problems can only be solved through the formation of an inclusive government with the participation of all ethnicities and groups and avoidance of foreign meddling in its affairs to restore peace and stability to the country,” he said.
Presidnet Raeisi (C-R) meets with his Kazakh counterpart, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, September 17, 2021.
Stressing that Iran seeks the resolution of its nuclear issue through dialog, Raeisi said, “Of course, as it has previously been announced, we do not want negotiations for the sake of negotiations and are looking for talks that solve the problem and reach a conclusion.”
He further noted that Iran and Kazakhstan have diverse economic capacities to enhance their cooperation, saying, “Joint working groups can identify these capacities in the form of strategic relations in different fields and make them operational.”
Tokayev, for his part, said Kazakhstan is interested in strengthening its ties with the Islamic Republic, especially in the economic sector.
He said Iran's Chabahar transit route can serve as the basis for developing economic relations between Iran and Central Asian countries.
The Kazakh president also said his country agrees with Iran on the formation of an inclusive government as the only solution to Afghanistan’s problems.
'Sanctions have failed'
On Thursday night, the Iranian president met with his Uzbek counterpart, Shavkat Mirziyoyev and underlined the need for the removal of Western sanctions against Iran.
"Although these sanctions have not been able to stop Iran's progress, Tehran is trying to have them removed," Raeisi said.
Raeisi further reiterated Iran’s support for the formation of an inclusive Afghan government with the participation of all factions.
He also said that economic ties between Iran and Uzbekistan are lagging behind their political relations, adding Tehran wants enhanced ties with Tashkent.
Meeting with Iranian expats
Additionally on Thursday, Raeisi held talks with the Iranians residing in Tajikistan, telling them that they have an important role in expanding and deepening Iran's relations with other countries.
Iran’s exports of goods and services to other countries, particularly neighbors, can be an important factor in enhancing the level of Tehran’s foreign relations, he said.