Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Iran Requests Full Membership at Shanghai Pact

Iran has asked for full membership at Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The SCO is a security organization founded in 2001. Russia, Tajikistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan are full members. Iran, India, Pakistan and Mongolia have observer status.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said in Tajikistan on Monday that Iran had submitted an official request for full membership to the SCO Secretariat. Tajikistan supported Iran's application [IRNA, 24 March]. Full membership in the SCO would help Iran end its international isolation.

Central Asian analyst see Iran’s nuclear program as the main obstacle to its membership. Moscow and Beijing want Iran to settle the standoff with West over its nuclear program before considering its full membership at SCO.

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