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UPDATED: 12:12, April 15, 2006
Iran hopes to join Shanghai group this summer
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Iran hopes to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this summer, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi said in Moscow on Friday.

Iran and India are observers in this organization, but probably they will become its full-fledged members as early as this summer, Mohammadi was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying.

According to Mohammadi, the joining of India and Iran would make SCO a strong international organization that others could join too. The SCO "could make the world more fair."

He said that Iran planned reviewing with "colleagues from this organization" the nuclear problem and counted on securing their support at the SCO summit in China due this summer.

Tehran hopes for a more active stance of Russia and China on assistance to Iran's economic projects, and proposes building an Iran-Russia "gas and oil arc" in order to merge efforts of these resource-rich countries.

The SCO comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, with India, Iran and Pakistan willing to join and granted formal observer status.

Source: Xinhua

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