Iran Looks East After China-led Bloc OKs Entry


Iran looks east after China-led bloc OKs entry

Tehran, Sept 18 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Sep, 2021 ) :Iran on Saturday hailed its acceptance into a China and Russia-led bloc, an eastward turn it sees as opening access to major world markets and a counter to crippling Western sanctions.

Conservative and reformist newspapers showed rare unity in welcoming the outcome of a conference in Dushanbe on Friday at which members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation endorsed Iran's future membership in the bloc.

The eight-member group, created two decades ago promotes itself as an antidote to Western dominance.

The bloc's decision on Iran comes with negotiations at a standstill on bringing Washington back into a 2015 nuclear accord. Then president Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions.

"Iran integrates into the biggest market of the East," a headline in the Javan newspaper said, calling the SCO "one of the principal symbols of cooperation of non-Western powers opening the door to a post-American era.

" Kayhan, like Javan an ultraconservative title, headlined its lead story in large type: "Deflecting Western sanctions." In Kayhan's view, "from now on Iran can implement its policy of multilateralism, progressively abandon a vision based solely on the West and mitigate Western sanctions." Etemad, a newspaper representing reformists who call for more social freedoms in the Islamic republic, expressed a view similar to that of the ultraconservatives.

It said SCO membership would permit Iran "to connect with markets" representing a major portion of the world's population.

Iran, one of four SCO observer states, had applied for full membership in 2008 but its bid was slowed by UN and US sanctions imposed over its nuclear programme.

Several SCO members did not want a country under international sanctions in their ranks.