One of the salient features of the current international system is the active activism of regional and international organizations.
In addition to the important role of the United Nations in various political, security, economic, etc. fields with its specialized institutions, regional organizations such as the European Union on the Green Continent, ASEAN in East Asia, NAFTA in North America, ECO in Asia and The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was formed and activated for various purposes.
In this context, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has gained a more serious position at the regional and global levels in recent years, given the establishment and membership of two major world powers, namely China and Russia.
Although the organization was formed in the mid-1990s with the aim of combating terrorism, extremism, and contributing to the stability and security of the periphery of its members, it continued to play a more prominent role in the organization’s political and economic cooperation. That is why the organization is also known in the political literature of some international relations analysts as Eastern NATO.
In fact, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, led by two major Eastern powers, is somehow trying to strike a balance between the United States and the West.
In the meantime, the Islamic Republic of Iran is paying special attention to the SCO for political, economic and security considerations.
In this regard, in an interview with “Ali Asghar Zargar”, an analyst in the field of international politics, we asked the reasons for this special attention;
IRNA: Given the presence of two major world powers, China and Russia, what is the Shanghai Organization’s role in international relations?
Founded in 2001 by China and Russia and four countries: Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is now in 2021 with the finalization of India, Pakistan and Iran, and three observer members, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Belarus has a much wider geographical area.
The organization emerged from the rivalry of the great powers over the geopolitical region of Central Asia and was in fact established in response to balancing US and NATO influence in the region. There is no doubt that the role of China and Russia in the goals of this organization is decisive.
The official goals of the organization are very broad and include security issues in Central Asia in particular, terrorism, separatism, and extremism, economic cooperation, increasing the level of trade and banking cooperation to provide capital for joint venture projects, cultural cooperation. And finally, the formation of a joint energy club is one of Russia’s demands.
Thus, the Shanghai Organization is a regional institution for multilateral cooperation in the political, security, economic and cultural fields, with an emphasis on maintaining and stabilizing the borders and national sovereignty of countries. These policies are in opposition to the one-sided policies of the United States.
IRNA: Does the organization have the capacity to counter this unilateralism?
Sufficient for the importance of the formation of this organization and its comprehensive goals is that the total area of the territories ruled by member states and observers is more than 35 million square kilometers and with a population of more than three billion or about 40% of the world’s population. Therefore, it should be said that this organization will have a great capacity in forming security structures in its surrounding area, and the meeting on September 16 and 17 shows the efforts of its members to play a more active role in the crises in the region, especially in Afghanistan.
The withdrawal of US and NATO forces from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s takeover of the country are important developments that deserve the organization’s attention. Although the organization has not openly sought to confront the interests of any country and has officially pursued the goal of multilateral cooperation to maintain security, the fact is that the axis of Russia and China, including Iran, is somehow moving towards confrontation with influence. The United States is in the region.
IRNA: What are the opportunities for Iran to cooperate with the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?
Due to the geographical extent and goals of the organization, Iran’s formal and full membership in this organization carries many political, security and economic effects. On the other hand, Iran has long been a strong supporter of the program of some member states, especially Russia, in the fight against terrorism and narcotics, and now it has practically joined this goal of the organization. Iran is also practically on the north-south and east-west corridor, which can play its historical role despite the malice of some countries.
In addition, Iran’s rich oil and gas energy resources, which are needed by China and India, the two most populous members of the organization, along with Iran’s strategic cooperation with these two countries and Shanghai security cooperation, complement Iran’s view and approach to the east. he does.
IRNA: Can the comprehensive document of the 25-year cooperation between Iran and China, as well as Iran’s economic and political cooperation with Russia, be examined in the same framework and considered as a kind of synergy within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?
Iran-China economic cooperation on the one hand and Iran and Russia on the other hand in the form of long-term contracts, if accompanied by Iran’s domestic development and investment, will solve many of Iran’s economic and rapid development issues.
Finally, Iran’s membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a powerful regional institution that counters US and NATO influence and unilateralism and weakens its hegemony in the world could strengthen Iran’s position in the Middle East, and even in the outcome of the Russia-China talks. Two permanent members of the UN Security Council are in attendance, seeking further concessions from the United States to lift sanctions.