President Ebrahim Raisi sends a message of regional multilateralism as Iran fully joins the influential Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Tehran, Iran – President Ebrahim Raisi said Iran wanted closer ties with its regional neighbors and rejected US “unilateralism” as his country became a full member of the influential United States Cooperation Organization. Shanghai (OCS).
Iran said on Friday it was accepted as the organization’s eighth full member at its annual conference in Tajikistan’s capital Dushanbe. Senior officials from other full Member States – namely China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan – were present.
Iran had observer status for 15 years. He expects full members to help him boost his economy and regional position.
In a speech at the summit, the newly elected Raisi mainly focused on his main stated foreign policy objective, which is to expand political, economic and cultural ties with countries in the region and to protect the Iran unilateral sanctions from the West.
He said Iran’s geopolitical position, population, energy supplies, transportation potential, workforce and culture can provide “significant momentum” to major regional master plans, including the Chinese “Belt and Road” initiative.
“The world has entered a new era,” said Raisi. “Hegemony and unilateralism fail. The international balance is evolving towards multilateralism and the redistribution of power for the benefit of independent countries.
In this vein, the Iranian president called “sanctions or economic terrorism” as major obstacles to regional progress, and called on SCO member states to develop structures and mechanisms to fight against sanctions as a group.
“Unilateral sanctions are not directed against a single country,” he said. “As has become evident in recent years, the sanctions have targeted more independent countries, in particular members of the organization.”
Iran has been the subject of severe US sanctions since 2018, when former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from the 2015 nuclear deal signed between Iran and the world powers.
On the nuclear deal, Raisi said he sees diplomacy as a tool to protect national interests. But he said it was only effective when all countries complied with it.
“Unfortunately, some countries think they can take advantage of diplomacy by using tools of threats and pressure,” he said in another veiled message to the United States as Iran and others signatories to the nuclear deal are expected to return to Vienna soon to resume talks on restoring the deal.
The president said nothing could stop Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear activities, days after European powers again called on Iran to cut back its nuclear program at the end of the agency’s latest conference International Atomic Energy International (IAEA).
Raisi also listed the COVID-19 pandemic, terrorism, environment, cybersecurity and organized crime as other challenges that SCO members face that can be addressed in unison.
The Iranian president, who landed in Dushanbe on Thursday, had a series of high-level talks with his SCO counterparts, including bilateral meetings with several heads of state and a multilateral meeting on Afghanistan.
Raisi was also due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in person, but the two agreed to set up a meeting for the foreseeable future after the latter had to self-quarantine after people around him tested positive for the coronavirus. .