Central Asian Ministers Argue Against Iran Joining SCO
Speaking in Shanghai at a meeting of foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) on May 15, the Kazakh and Tajik ministers ruled out the possibility of Iran joining the SCO, agencies reported. Tajik Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov told reporters, "So far this issue has not been discussed as the SCO is not able to expand indefinitely and there is no document which would regulate the membership of this or that state, including Iran," RIA Novosti reported. Kazakh Foreign Minister Qasymzhomart Toqaev said, "Kazakhstan finds it necessary to temporarily refrain from SCO enlargement through permanent members and observers because the organization lacks the legal basis...for admitting new members," Interfax-Kazakhstan reported. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mohammadi said last month that Iran hopes to join the SCO this summer. Iran currently holds observer status in the SCO, as do India, Mongolia, and Pakistan. SCO members are China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
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