Islamabad, DEC 4 /DNA/ – In a discussion on ‘Iran’s membership in SCO’ organized by the Institute of Regional Studies, Sorkhabi, Deputy Ambassador of Iran said that ‘Tehran anticipates greater integration after acquiring full membership of the SCO, added that Iran’s modern communication and transportation infrastructure, centuries-old historical, cultural and religious ties with most of the member states would altogether help accelerate Iran’s integration into the SCO. Dy. Amb Sorkhabi was convinced that Tehran’s full membership would put an end to Iran’s isolation. Now, Iran could better play its due role in addressing regional peace and security issues, he emphasized. Regarding Afghanistan, Dy. Amb. Sorkhabi said that Tehran believes that an inclusive government in Afghanistan that includes Tajik, Uzbek, Turkmen, and Hazaras would strengthen peace within and without Afghanistan.
While speaking on the occasion, Riffat Masood, former Pakistan’s ambassador to Iran said that ‘SCO is an important organization in a sense it does not have any member from the west that empowers its members to resolve the regional problems on their own’. For that reason, the issue of Afghanistan would be a litmus test for the SCO she stressed. ‘Nevertheless, regional rivalries and bilateral relationships of members states the US does have an impact on the effectiveness of this organization, she opined. Amb. Masood was of the view that SCO has provided an answer to Iran’s isolation. But the sanctions would remain a stumbling block in Iran’s engagements with the member states, he told the participants.
Prof. Lubna Abid Ali of NDU was of the view that SCO’s full membership has strengthened Iran’s standing in the region. With that Tehran could play a pivotal role in the regional conflicts she emphasized. While echoing what Amb. Masood’s words, Prof. Ali urged the member states to resolve the issues related to the security in Afghanistan, drug trafficking, and extremism in the region.