Iran’s Raisi to attend regional summit in first official visit since taking office

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Tehran’s participation in a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) conference demonstrates the importance it places on regional cooperation, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said before leaving for Tajikistan on Thursday on his first foreign trip since taking office last month.

The summit in Dushanbe will discuss last month’s takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, a neighbouring country of the SCO’s largely Central Asian members. Afghanistan itself is an observer at the SCO, as is Iran.

The SCO was launched in 2001 to combat extremism and other security concerns in China, Russia and four ex-Soviet Central Asian republics.

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“Regional cooperation is a top priority for us,” Raisi said in live televised remarks at Tehran airport before leaving for Dushanbe. Legal, economic, and agricultural agreements would be signed with Tajikistan, he said without giving details.

The official IRNA news agency said Raisi was accompanied by the ministers of foreign affairs, energy, justice, labor and social welfare, cultural heritage, and tourism.

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