Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ahmadinejad Seeks Iran's Entry into SCO

According to this International Herald Tribune story, Iranian President Imajihadi (or whatever his name is) wants Iran to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, an organization created just over a decade ago to deal with security issues and religious extremism in the region. The SCO currently consists of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with Iran, Pakistan, and Mongolia joining as observers.

In general, the SCO wants to increase its ability to counter America's influence around the world. But, they're apparently in no hurry to openly confront the US.

Iran's take on the SCO:

At last year's summit in Shanghai, the Iranian president called on the SCO to become "a strong, influential economic, political and trading institution" that could act to "prevent the threats of domineering powers and their aggressive interference in global affairs."

The SCO's position on Iran is mixed:

Although the SCO has welcomed Ahmadinejad, accepting Iran as a full member will not be on the table any time soon, said Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the Russia in Global Affairs journal. "Making Iran a member would be seen as an open challenge to the United States, a call for confrontation," he said.

My (optimistic?) take: the SCO will be an organization seeking economic influence, not military. By itself, that's not a bad thing. The US either already has or could easily create such a relationship with the EU that would sweep aside any such SCO aspirations.

Imajihadi, though, and Iran's influence on the group would make it more militaristic, and so one hopes the SCO maintains its current position.

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