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Iran to Join Shanghai Cooperation with China, Russia Soon

Participants of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. Reuters
Participants of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. Reuters

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced Friday the official approval of the Islamic Republic of Iran's membership of the regional Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with China, Russia, and Central Asian countries.

"At the meeting of heads of state on July 4, the full membership of Iran will be approved," Lavrov said during the opening of an SCO center in Moscow.

The Russian Foreign Minister also said that in addition to Iran's joining the SCO, a memorandum on Belarus's obligations for joining the group would be signed July 4.

Lavrov said the coming virtual summit would "begin the procedure" for that membership to go ahead.

According to officials, SCO membership was already on the cards, and Iran hoped to be quickly accepted into another grouping without any Western countries.

The SCO, headquartered in China, is a diplomatic organization with eight members, including India and Pakistan.

In the last few years, Beijing, Tehran, and Moscow have strengthened each other militarily and economically.

Following Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine last year, China and the regime in Tehran have provided Moscow with economic relief from international sanctions, providing military and financial resources to Moscow's troops.

In the Middle East, the Chinese government has brokered a deal with Saudi Arabia, expanding its influence in a region once dominated by the United States.

China has also supplied Tehran with military drones and other deadly equipment for the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and its terrorist proxies.

"As the globe coalesces into two main blocs, it makes sense that members of each bloc work closer together," said Daniel Pipes, historian, and president of the Middle East Forum.

"This increasingly resembles the Cold War except in two main ways: On the positive side, the dictatorships lack anything so perverse as the Communist ideology. On the negative side, unencumbered by socialism, they are economically far more powerful," Pipes told The Foreign Desk.

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