Iran joins growing Asian security body led by Moscow and Beijing


The Iranian flag flies in front of the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ahead of the start of a Governing Council meeting, in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS / Lisi Niesner / File Photo

Sept. 17 (Reuters) – Iran on Friday joined a growing Central Asian security body led by Russia and China, calling on Shanghai Cooperation Organization countries to help form a mechanism to avoid the sanctions imposed by the West.

The body, formed in 2001 as a discussion workshop for Russia, China and the former Soviet states of Central Asia, expanded four years ago to include India and Pakistan, in the aim to play a more important role as a counterweight to Western influence in the region. .

A sign of his growing influence, the summit in Tajikistan was the first appearance abroad of the new radical Iranian president, Ebrahimi Raisi, since taking office in August.

Raisi praised the opportunity the membership would provide Iran, as a country along China’s “belt and highway” route, to join important trade ties across Eurasia. . Iranian television described Iran’s membership as giving it access to huge markets across the continent.

In his address to members, Raisi compared sanctions against Iran to terrorism, and said the organization should design a mechanism that helps Tehran avoid them.

Russia and China, along with Western countries, are parties to a 2015 deal between Iran and world powers under which Tehran agreed to curtail its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.

Washington abandoned that deal in 2018 and unilaterally reimposed financial sanctions. Negotiations this year to revive it have stalled since Raisi’s election.

“Nothing can stop Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities which fall within the framework of international regulations,” Raisi said. “Diplomacy is only effective when all parties buy into it. Threats and pressures tie the hands of diplomacy and make it ineffective.”

Edited by Peter Graff [email protected]

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