SCO Opens Its Doors for Iran

Iran’s accession will be announced tomorrow at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit. In addition, issues of economic and agro-food safety will be at the focus of the agenda.

The summit of the member countries of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will be held tomorrow, July 4, in videoconference format. According to sources in the SCO, “the outcome result of the virtual summit will be Iran’s entry”. Besides, “good progress” is expected in the upcoming Belarus’s accession to the SCO.

As the event organizer, India wanted to place the problems of economic and agro-food safety at the center of the summit’s agenda. Russian President Vladimir Putin backed India’s initiative last Friday in a telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Kremlin emphasized that “the telephone conversation was constructive and meaningful. The leaders reaffirmed their intention to strengthen the strategic and privileged partnership between the two countries.” Last month, Modi visited the US, where he was received by American President Joe Biden and delivered a keynote speech to Congress, which the international media qualified as “a sign of India breaking away from Russia”.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a body that encourages cooperation in the economic, political, and even military fields between member states. It is the world’s largest regional organization in area and population.  At present, it includes China, India, Russia, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. On the other hand, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran (starting July 4, 2023 it will become a full SCO member), and Mongolia are observers, while Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, Sri Lanka, and Armenia are dialogue partners. According to Il Giornale, “the strategic significance of this body, in the context of the Eurasian continent and on the world stage in general, is especially high and aimed at directly competing with the spheres of influence by other organizations, such as NATO and the European Union.”

The topic for tomorrow’s day at the summit is defined as “Towards a SAFE SCO.” Indian organizers explained that the English word SECURE is actually an abbreviation from the following key terms in a multipolar world, starting with security, economy and trade, communication, unity, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, and environment. The idea was proposed by Modi himself at the 2018 SCO summit.

One of the summit’s central topics will be agro-food safety of developing countries. “In the current international conditions, food safety is becoming the most important task for SCO and the entire world community,” stated SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming. “The Shanghai Organization opposes restrictions on international trade and the sanctions policy that have become a kind of weapon in the hands of Western countries.” On Tuesday, the leaders of the Shanghai Organization countries will discuss how to resist the policy of the West. Beijing announced that “Chinese President Xi Jinping will deliver an important speech at the summit”.

The problem of agro-food safety has recently become so acute that the United Nations managed to extrapolate the export of agricultural products, fertilizers, chemicals, and food products “made in Russia” from the list of goods subject to Western sanctions. Earlier, Russia threatened to withdraw from the Ukrainian grain export agreement, which expires on July 17.