World Iran looks east after China-led bloc OKs entry
What China, Iran, Pakistan, Other Afghanistan Neighbors Have to Say About New Taliban Government
The most senior working diplomats of China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan took part in their first-ever virtual summit to discuss a common approach to Afghanistan's new Islamic Emirate.All six nations are grappling with the fallout.
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.
Iran to allow new memory cards in UN's nuclear site cameras
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran agreed Sunday to allow international inspectors to install new memory cards into surveillance cameras at its sensitive nuclear sites and to continue filming there, averting a diplomatic showdown this week. The announcement by Mohammad Eslami of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran after a meeting he held with the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, in Tehran still leaves the watchdog in the same position it has faced since February, however. Tehran holds all recordings at its sites as negotiations over the U.S. and Iran returning to the 2015 nuclear deal remain stalled in Vienna.
The eight-member group, created two decades ago and which also includes India, 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."
Exclusive: Legalized by Trump, Uyghur Separatists See Biden as Ally in Fight Against China
"We hope that not only the U.S. government but also all countries and all people will take action against the Chinese government," a Turkestan Islamic Party spokesperson told Newsweek.As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 passed Saturday, the lingering blowback of the unprecedented attacks remains with the United States in a myriad of ongoing measures adopted in tandem with the still-raging "war on terror.
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.
- Investment opportunity -
Video: Retired general calls for Milley's resignation, says military has lost confidence in Joint Chiefs chair (FOX News)
Fearing Afghan refugee influx, Turkey reinforces border
TATVAN, Turkey (AP) — Fearing a new refugee crisis, Turkey is sending soldiers to reinforce its border with Iran in order to stop a potential influx of Afghans fleeing the Taliban insurgency. Irregular arrivals are already up as Afghans who fled weeks and months ago show up at Turkey's rugged border area after a long trek across Iran. A group of Afghans encountered by The Associated Press near the border said they had deserted the Afghan military and fled the country as the Taliban offensive accelerated.“We came out of necessity.
The 2015 agreement, aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining an atomic bomb, provided economic relief in return for a sharp scaling back of the country's nuclear activities, but Trump's withdrawal started the deal's unravelling.
Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia remain in the agreement, and US President Joe Biden has expressed readiness to rejoin them but talks have so far made little headway.
Last year, Iran again failed to attain SCO membership because of a refusal by Tajikistan but on Friday it found the door to membership wide open.
For Iranian international relations expert Fayaz Zahed, Moscow and Beijing endorsed Tehran's membership because they expect the nuclear issue to be resolved.
"The SCO countries think Iran is going to abide by the international accords as the sanctions have been the main obstacle to its membership" in the bloc, Zahed told AFP.
Russia, China and India are all waiting for a lifting of the economic penalties so that they can invest in Iran, he said.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said Iran's membership had been unanimously accepted.
Will Iran come back to the nuclear negotiating table?
President Ebrahim Raisi has indicated interest in fresh talks over the defunct international nuclear deal, but given warm relations with China, he's in no rush.In other words, he would work to revive the Joint Cooperative Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the nuclear deal the Trump administration pulled out of in 2018.
SCO leaders did not, however, announce a timeline for Iran's accession.
Apart from Russia and China, the other founding members are the former Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
India and Pakistan were admitted in 2017.
Together they represent around 40 percent of the world's population and more than 20 percent of global gross domestic product -- an immense potential market for Tehran.
Iran's ultraconservative President Ebrahim Raisi, in his address to the SCO, called the sanctions "economic terrorism" and "the most important tool of the hegemonic powers for imposing their will on others."
Raisi, who succeeded moderate Hassan Rouhani in August, added that such economic penalties are "a major obstacle to the promotion of regional integration and the SCO should design structures and mechanisms to present a collective response to sanctions."
Two-way trade between Iran and SCO member states was valued at $28 billion (24 billion euros) for the Iranian year ended March 2021, according to Tehran.
China accounted for $18.9 billion of that.
But Iran sees political as well as economic benefits in the SCO.
"The world has entered a new era. Hegemony and unilateralism have failed," Raisi said.
"The international balance from now on leans towards multilateralism and the redistribution of powers towards independent countries. Unilateral sanctions don't uniquely target one country. It has become evident that, in recent years, they affect more the independent countries, especially SCO members."
Minister: Iran will return to nuclear talks `very soon' .
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Iran’s new foreign minister said Friday the country will return to nuclear negotiations “very soon,” but accused the Biden administration of sending contradictory messages — saying it wants to rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal while slapping new sanctions on Tehran and not taking “an iota of positive action.” Hossain Amir Abdollah said the government, which took power last month, believes that President Joe Biden “keeps carrying close to his heart the thick file of the Trump sanctions against Iran, even while seemingly pursuing negotiations.