Iran’s Membership in SCO Would Promote Peace and Development

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mohammad-Ali Hosseini 

With an illogical analysis, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher has recently criticized regional cooperation in the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and particularly Iran’s request for membership in the SCO. Based on a long-term forecast -- those which most often turn out to be wrong -- he has expressed concern over these issues.

Failing to take the entirety of the SCO’s comprehensive goals into account, Boucher underlines its security objective and says that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not a Warsaw Pact and if it moves in that direction, the U.S. will take action. Referring to Iran’s request for membership in the SCO, he said that even if the SCO accepts Iran as a new member in order to make the organization more powerful, the consequences of Iran’s membership in the SCO will depend on the nature of cooperation in the organization.

It does not seem that we need to respond to Richard Boucher’s statement, but the reasons behind the U.S. assistant secretary of state’s recent stances can be described as follows:

(A) The U.S. foreign policy officials’ lack of understanding about the nature of the peaceful convergence of Asian countries and its accelerating course of development.

(B) The influence of dead traditions of the past century on the United States and its attempt to maintain total domination of other parts of the globe.

(C) An intention to obstruct the path of comprehensive economic, social, political, and security development of Asian countries and the establishment of a powerful organization in Asia -- given the presence of two permanent UN Security Council members, Russia and China.

(D) The United States’ inability to respond to Iranian diplomacy and its innovative, skillful maneuvers -- especially during the administration of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

(E) The United States’ concern over West Asian countries providing a long-term supply of energy to East Asian countries like China and its efforts to destabilize Asian powers.

U.S. officials’ brouhaha aside, Iran’s objectives for requesting membership in the SCO can be summarized as follows:

(1) Convergence based on Islamic teachings which welcome positive ideas that benefit all nations.

(2) Participation in the economic, social, scientific, and security development of Asian countries and strengthening world peace and global stability.

(3) Constructive interaction with regional organizations and strengthening such organizations in order to promote the ideals of the UN.

Given the common needs of Iran and the current SCO members in the fields of energy, commerce, and the economy, Iran’s membership in the SCO would be natural. Also, SCO members have many things in common such as the fact that all are developing economies and free societies that value national and regional security.

Based on all this, we should say that Iran’s request for membership in the SCO is not meant to further particular objectives or to protect special interests. Rather, it is meant to further the goals and secure the interests of Asian nations. Additionally, it should be borne in mind that securing the interests of Asian nations does not mean opposition to other countries and Iran’s membership in such an organization would be beneficial to all members and promote regional and world peace, and more importantly, make the United Nations more efficient.

Iran’s interest in joining the SCO is in line with the country’s moderate foreign policy because, along with its efforts to join the SCO bloc, Iran has made several unprecedented and successful moves to strengthen ties with regional organizations in other parts of the globe -- from the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council to Latin American and African organizations.

Iran’s membership in the SCO is meant to promote cooperation rather than to exercise influence over the organization’s alignment and as such it enjoys full international legitimacy and national and global support. The accession of Iran as an observer member and President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s invitation to the most recent SCO summit in China were strong steps SCO members have taken for Iran’s accession as a full member of the SCO.

In conclusion, U.S. officials in charge of foreign policy -- who refuse to recognize the Iranian nation and government is in the right, even almost 30 years since the Islamic Revolution and the establishment of the independent Islamic Republic of Iran -- are advised to respect the collective political will of independent nations, cease fomenting mistrust and implementing policies of sabotage and obstruction to the path of peace, stability, and social and economic development in Asia, and play a role in the world which is acceptable to the nations of the region and proper for U.S. citizens.

Mohammad-Ali Hosseini is the spokesman of the Iranian Foreign Ministry


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