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Iran to join Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Iran took a step toward joining in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at a summit in Uzbekistan this week.

Iran is getting closer to joining China and Russia in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Reuters reported Thursday that at a summit in Uzbekistan this week, Iran signed a memorandum of obligations to join the group as a permanent member — an upgrade from its observer status. 

What it means: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization works to strengthen security and trade cooperation in Eurasia. China, Russia, India, Pakistan and several former Soviet states in Central Asia are members. Turkey is also a dialogue partner of the alliance. 

Iran has tried to join the organization for some time. Last year, it accepted Iran’s application for membership. Iran has also been working to increase trade with the group's member states. 

Why it matters: Iranian membership in the group would demonstrate Iran’s good relations with China, Russia and Central Asia. Iran’s trade with China is increasing. In August, Iran and Russia announced they would start using their own currencies for trade rather than the dollar. 

Iran and Uzbekistan also signed several cooperation agreements ahead of the summit this week. In June, Iran and Kazakhstan unveiled a new railway network in a further effort to boost trade.

Know more: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also led a delegation to the summit. Erdogan met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to discuss the wars in Ukraine and Syria, according to Russia’s official TASS news agency. Erdogan also held a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Turkey’s official Anadolu Agency reported. 

Erdogan promised more cooperation with the organization during his speech at the summit, specially in the security, economy and energy to transportation, agriculture and tourism sectors, according to a Turkish press release.

Qatar and Egypt also became dialogue partners with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Wednesday, according to a press release from the organization. 

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