Published: 16:28, September 15, 2022 | Updated: 22:47, September 15, 2022
Iran signs memorandum on joining SCO
By Reuters

In this handout photo released by Foreign Ministry of Uzbekistan, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev (right) and the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi hold signed documents during their meeting at the Samarkand Congress Center on the eve of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Sept 14, 2022. (FOREIGN MINISTRY OF UZBEKISTAN VIA AP)

MOSCOW - Iran has signed a Memorandum of Obligations to become a permanent member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Iran's foreign minister said on Thursday, as Tehran seeks to overcome economic isolation amid US sanctions.

Last year, the SCO approved Iran's application for accession, while Tehran's rulers called on members to help it form a mechanism to avert sanctions imposed by the West over its nuclear program

"By signing the document for full membership of the SCO, now Iran has entered a new stage of various economic, commercial, transit and energy cooperation," Hossein Amirabdollahian wrote on his Instagram page.

Last year, the security body, whose founding heavyweights are China and Russia, approved Iran's application for accession, while Tehran's rulers called on members to help it form a mechanism to avert sanctions imposed by the West over its nuclear program.

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was in the Silk Road oasis of Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday to attend a summit of the organization. He was expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian media reported.

The body, formed in the 2001, expanded four years ago to include India and Pakistan.

Iran will now be able to take part in meetings, although it is likely to take some time to achieve full membership, deputy secretary-general of the organization Grigory Logvinov told Russian state TV, which also reported the signing.

Iran's economy has been hit hard since 2018, when then-US president Donald Trump abandoned Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers, including Russia and China.

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Months of indirect talks between Iran and US President Joe Biden's administration have hit a dead end over several obstacles to reviving the nuclear pact, under which Tehran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.