Iran’s Permanent Membership at SCO: Expectations and Reality
On September 17, 2021, it was announced that Iran’s permanent membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was approved during the meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State held in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, with China’s suggestion. This membership, considered a significant step for Iran’s economy and foreign policy, is seen as a sign that the Ebrahim Raisi administration will be in close political and economic relations with the “independent countries” in the eastern borders of Iran. As a matter of fact, in his speech to the summit in Dushanbe, Raisi emphasized the relations between the region’s leading countries and the development and strengthening of infrastructure connections by saying that “The world has entered a new era. Hegemony and unilateralism are failing. The international balance is moving toward multilateralism and redistribution of power to the benefit of independent countries”.
Permanent membership in the SCO also supports the policies of the economic resistance, which are considered as the economic policies targeted by Raisi, and Iran’s membership should be evaluated in this context as well. The Resistance Economy doctrine, announced by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, aims to expand strategic relations with the world, especially with regional countries, develop cooperation and partnerships, benefit from the international and regional organizations’ potentials with diplomacy to support economic goals in order to make the Iranian economy more resistant and reduce its vulnerability.