Russia happy about Iran joining SCO: President Putin tells Iranian counterpart Raisi

Samarkand, Sep 15 (PTI) Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday met his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi here on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand and expressed his happiness about Tehran joining the eight-member grouping.

The 22nd heads of states summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Samarkand is expected to finalise the admission of Iran and grant the status of a dialogue partner to Egypt, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

Putin told Raisi that he was happy that Iran was joining the SCO.

“As we agreed with you, we have done everything for Iran to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Our partners in this organisation have supported your application, all that is left is one last formality. It is indeed a formality, and Iran is joining this already serious, large, and authoritative international organisation,” Russia’s state-run Tass news agency quoted Putin as saying.

Putin stressed that Moscow and Tehran have similar views on many international issues. “Interregional ties are developing. We actively cooperate on the international arena and on many [points] our positions are close, or, as diplomats say, coincide,” he noted.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said during his meeting with Putin that Moscow and Tehran were bound by strategic relations.

We have the will necessary to develop our relations. We are bound not by common, but by strategic relations. And, since they are strategic, we must develop our cooperation in political, economic and space areas, Raisi said, in his fourth meeting with Putin this year.

Both the leaders earlier in January met in Moscow, then in June on the sidelines of the Caspian summit in Ashgabat, and during the Astana Format summit in Tehran in July.

Founded in 2001, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s current members are India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia being the observer countries.

SCO’s partner countries include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey, and Sri Lanka.

Raisi on Thursday also met Secretary General of the SCO Zhang Ming, as well as, his counterparts from Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, according to Iran’s IRNA news agency.

“Iran is a powerful, stable, and secure country in the region; and this is important for the SCO,” the secretary general noted.

Ming described Iran’s membership in the Organisation as a move to upgrade the SCO.

Before this membership, Iran was acting as an observer in the SCO.