Iran: new member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
On September 17, 2021, Iran became a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). It is an extraordinary achievement and a new beginning for Iran sanctioned by the United States and the West. On this occasion, PressTV interviewed Peter Koenig on what this decision could bring to Iran. See the transcript below.
TV press: Iran is finally a member of the SCO. It is said to solidify a bloc to stand up to Western and American hegemony. Will he be able to do it, and is the era of unilateralism over?
Peter Koenig: First of all, my most sincere and sincere congratulations on this extraordinary event – Iran, the latest member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – the SCO. Well done!
Yes, it will certainly open new doors, prosperous doors, with new relationships in the East. The SCO, with current members, covers nearly 50% of the world’s population and accounts for around one-third of global GDP.
Being a member of this organization will take a lot of pressure off in terms of Western sanctions, Western impositions, monetary manipulation via the US dollar as a remedy for payment.
Iran is now free to deal in its own currency and Yuan as well as any currency of SCO members, as Western-style currency restrictions do not exist in SCO member countries.
This will greatly reduce the potential for US / Western sanctions and, on the other hand, increase Iran’s potential to deal with the East; that is to say in particular China and Russia; conclude partnership agreements with these and other SCO countries, enjoying comparative advantages. This could usher in a new socio-economic era for Iran.
Also, in terms of defense strategy. Although the SCO is not a military defense organization, in itself, it offers strategic defense assistance and advice and, as such, is a consolidating force for member countries.
The SCO also respects the autonomy and sovereignty of countries and facilitates trade agreements between member countries.
That said, Iran must not lose sight of potentially disruptive internal factors, like the so-called Fifth Columnists – those who will continue to pull west, and they are particularly dangerous as infiltrators in the financial sector. , the Treasury, the Ministry of Finance, Central Bank, etc. They are everywhere, also in Russia and China. But Iranian internal conscience and prudence will help manage the risks and eventually crush them. Russia has come a long way in this direction, as has China. And Iran too, I am confident.
Again, great momentum to celebrate. Congratulations!
TV press: Iran will also be part of various regional bodies in neighboring regions, including Eurasia, which could spontaneously break down the “sanctions wall” and lead to diverse and fruitful foreign relations. Does this mean that US sanctions will not be as effective?
PACKAGE: Absolutely yes. Regional bodies and trade agreements within Eurasia – such as the Eurasian Economic Union – EAEU – have an integrated single market of 180 million people and an equivalent and growing GDP of some $ 5,000 billion. It covers eight countries, 3 of which have observer status.
Besides trading with members of the Eurasian Economic Union, EAEU also has trade agreements as an entity with other countries, for example with Singapore.
Then there is perhaps the most important trade deal in the history of the world, the ten ASEAN countries, plus China, as well as Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. -Zeeland – but not the United States. Thus, no transactions in US dollars, no possibility of US sanctions. This trade agreement is called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). It was signed in November 2020 on the occasion of the annual summit of the Association of 10 Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
RCEP countries have a combined GDP of US $ 26.2 trillion or around 30% of global GDP, and they represent almost 28% of global trade (based on 2019 figures). The total population of RCEP countries is 2.3 billion, or about 30% of the world’s population.
The negotiation of this trade agreement lasted 8 years. The longest ever. And it will of course take time to reach the full integration potential of the economies of sovereign countries. Unlike the European Union, the RCEP will preserve, as far as possible, the sovereignty of each country. This is important in the long term, especially for the conservation of national cultures, ideologies and national development strategies.
Iran may have a good chance of negotiating an early accession to the RCEP deal. It will certainly be a blow to US sanctions – and on the other hand a tremendous opportunity to diversify markets, production and consumption.
Once again, congratulations. Being a member of the SCO is an extraordinary achievement. As I always say, the future is in the East.
Good luck to Iran with new partners and new friends.