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International relations

Iran to gain Central Asia clout with entry into SCO security club

China and Russia-led group expands amid fear of radical spillover from Afghanistan

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, left, speaks with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon while attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Dushanbe on Sept. 17.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- Iran is set to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization led by China and Russia as a full member, a move experts say will give Tehran more influence over Central Asia -- including war-torn neighbor Afghanistan.

"Today, we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a member state of the SCO, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar as new dialogue partners," Chinese President Xi Jinping said via video link on Friday, addressing the SCO Council of Heads of State in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

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