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DUSHANBE, March 24 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has lodged a bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that comprises Russia, China and four ex-Soviet Central Asian states, the country's foreign minister said on Monday.
The Islamic Republic, which currently holds an observer status in the regional security group, has long sought to become a full member of the SCO, seen as a counterbalance to U.S. and NATO influence in the region.