Iran is planning to become a permanent member of a China and Russia-dominated Asian security body, Reuters reported.
Foreign minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Thursday said Iran had signed a memorandum of obligations to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is holding a summit this week in Uzbekistan.
The body, formed in 2001 as a talking shop for Russia, China and ex-Soviet states in Central Asia, expanded four years ago to include India and Pakistan, with a view to playing a bigger role as a counterweight to Western influence in the region.
"By signing the document for full membership of the SCO, now Iran has entered a new stage of various economic, commercial, transit and energy cooperation," Hossein Amirabdollahian wrote on his Instagram page.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was in the Silk Road oasis of Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Thursday to attend the summit. He held a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian state TV reported.