The Iranian regime pretends that its acceptance in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a blow to its global sanctions and political isolation and is a victory for the new government of Ebrahim Raisi.
“The Membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the SCO was a strategic move, and a diplomatic success without a doubt, the Islamic Republic’s membership in the SCO actually marks the economic connection for our beloved people.” (State-TV News Channel, September 18, 2021)
Meanwhile, other state media outlets are a little more realistic and are writing: “Although this membership can be politically beneficial, it will not achieve much economically.” (Mostaghel)
However, the regime’s officials ridiculously insist on its economic benefits as its Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said: “This should be considered a very important achievement of the summit and they will surely see its effects in the economic plan of the 13th government of our dear people.” (State-TV News Channel, September 17, 2021)
These claims and their strictness can be true and be an economic boom for the regime, only in a situation where the country possesses a strong economic foundation, and not become a destructed structure like it is now. Not been sanctioned and not having the opportunity for economic relations and even not able to export its oil.
A broken economy where the prices of the goods are increasing without announcement. The inflation is out of control and the people’s livelihood basket has been deserted.
As one of the regime’s economic experts in an interview said: “They say get off the dead horse, what does it mean? It means that when the economy’s structure is wrong, you are changing the rider, we can’t do anything, because the horse is dead, go and ride a live horse.” (State-TV Channel Two, September 18, 2021)
And this membership will not even help the regime to overcome the sanctions.
“Membership in an Asian organization in a world where we are isolated could not be encouraging and a sense of state and international identity. In the meantime, Iran, of course, to circumvent the sanctions, has had ties with China, India, and Russia, the three main members of the SCO, which the current membership does not help to strengthen. (Mostaghel, September 20, 2021)
Arman newspaper also described the positive comments made by Raisi’s government leaders about the benefits of joining the SCO as ‘literature and statements’ that ‘are inconsistent with the realities of the international system’ and that they cannot ‘achieve the status’ desired by the regime ‘in the region and the world’ with ‘these unrealistic notions.’
Furthermore, given the actions of Russia and China in relation with the regime in the past, and prioritizing political relations and economic interests with the West over the regime, the Arman newspaper considered them ‘unreliable’ that the regime would ‘rely on them to engage in conflict with the West.’
However, the regime needs this propaganda in the hope to deal with the people’s frustration and giving even a bit of hope to its elements. The reality is that for now the economic relation between the regime and the members of the SCO is unclear and first in two years this agreement will be fully implemented, and for now it is only on paper.
“The fact is that it doesn’t matter to be a member of such organizations, we’re already members of OPEC, but when our oil was sanctioned, OPEC didn’t take action, so we need to see what the membership in SCO will look like and how it works, these are all the missing circles in the economy that need to be looked for.” (State-run daily Hamdeli, September 20, 2021)