Russia supports the start of the procedure for the admission of Iran to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). This was announced on Friday, September 17, by Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

He stressed that the Russian Federation attaches great importance to the issues of cooperation between the SCO and countries that seek to establish an open and equal dialogue with the organization, and are also considering the possibility of joining its work.

«Russia supports the decision submitted for approval by the Council of Heads of State of the SCO to start the procedure for admitting the Islamic Republic of Iran to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization», said Putin at the SCO summit, in which he took part in a videoconference format.

"We have always advocated the full-fledged participation of Iran in the work of our organization - this country plays an important role in the Eurasian region and has long been closely cooperating with the SCO", - explained the President of the Russian Federation.

Iran's accession will help to increase the international authority of the organization, he said.

In addition, the Russian leader noted that the Russian Federation also welcomes the granting of the status of dialogue partners in the SCO to Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, Izvestia writes.

At the same time, he pointed out that the path from the "green light" for accession to membership in the organization itself will take a lot of time, since the documents that the candidate country must sign in the first place are subject to ratification.

Iran, which has had observer status with the organization since 2012, applied to join its ranks as a full member back in 2008, but its membership remained in limbo for many years due to the UN Security Council sanctions regime against Tehran.

In 2015, following the emergence of the so-called nuclear deal with Iran, sanctions were lifted from it.