Iran has joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Established in 2001, SCO is a political and economic security community with members from China, Kazakhstan, Kirghistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan, and Iran. It is a huge community that will account for 40% of the world’s population and 28% of world GDP in these nine countries. September 17, when Iran joined, is also the 20th anniversary of the establishment of SCO. It is said that it will take up to two years to complete the accession process. （ What’s in it for Iran? Three Ways Tehran Will Benefit From Joining Shanghai Pact）
Iran has already signed a 25-year strategic partnership agreement with China in March. A similar action plan has been developed with Russia. On April 12, 2021, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Iran’s counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif signed an action plan for economic cooperation. （Iran and China sign 25-year cooperation agreement）（Iran, Russia to sign two important documents）
Both Iran and Russia are in important positions in the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC). NSTC connects Moscow, Russia, and Mumbai, India, and is a 7,200 km transportation route via Azerbaijan and Iran. The length of the transportation route in Iran is 2,000km, which is very important strategically. The corridor replaces the existing course through the Suez Canal and is expected to reduce transportation costs by 30-60% and reduce transportation days from 40 to 20 days. Iran has already launched Zoodel, a multilingual online inter-company EC platform, and steadily builds a trading network.
Behind the scenes is Iran’s desire to promote the non-oil industry to avoid US sanctions. In 2017, 17% of Iran’s GDP came from oil, but in 2020 accounting, Iran’s non-oil exports exceeded oil exports for the first time in history. About half of non-oil exports come from manufacturing. Exports in the non-oil sector have grown 47% in four months. The main export destinations of Iran’s non-petroleum products are China, Iraq, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, and Afghanistan. Most recently, on September 28, Tehran Times reported that consumer electronics production in the first five months of the year increased by 8.7%. The country welcomes foreign investment. Japan is a country with a strong manufacturing industry. Japanese companies should stop worrying about the shrinking domestic economy once and utilize Japan’s technology and know-how in developing emerging countries like Iran.（ Iran’s non-oil trade rises 47% in 4 months yr/yr）（Home appliance production increases 8.7% in 5 months on year）