Iran has joined the SCO, now it needs to turbo-boost its economy • THE CRADLE

Source: https://thecradle.co/Article/analysis/2019

With Iran’s full accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) complete, Tehran now needs to wrangle big trade deals with its new regional friends to offset US sanctions against its beleaguered economy.

“Today, we will launch procedures to admit Iran as a full member of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization),” Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Friday, putting to rest the rampant speculation that Iran will officially accede to Asia’s most coveted security organization.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is in Dushanbe, Tajikistan with a high level diplomatic and economic delegation to attend the annual two-day SCO summit. The visit, marking Raisi’s first foreign trip, is already a dazzling success for the new head of state. The Islamic Republic had, until today, only enjoyed SCO observer status (since 2005), and had undergone two previous failed attempts to gain full membership.

The announcement of Iran’s accession to the SCO comes as little surprise to experts who predicted that Tehran’s comprehensive strategic partnership agreement with China last March and its subsequent announcement of a similar agreement with Moscow, would pave the way for Iran’s upgraded SCO status. Recent developments in Afghanistan have only confirmed for Beijing and Moscow – the organization’s main stakeholders – the value of Iran within the regional security organization.

Founded in 2001, the SCO brings together regional powers, such as Russia and China, along with India, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The organization represents a geographical region of 60 million square kilometers (23 million square miles) and a population of over 3 billion.

Economy of the SCO

During its first 20 years, the SCO was largely viewed as a political and security grouping of countries that sought to cooperate against “terrorism, separatism, and extremism.” However, it has recently also sought to bolster economic cooperation among members and is expected to further develop these ambitions in the coming years.

In 2018, at the Qingdao summit in China, the SCO adopted an agreement consisting of 17 documents, which included action plans for economic cooperation between the SCO member states and the need “to examine the prospects of expanding the use of national currency in trade and investment.”

The SCO’s eight member states, four observer states, and six dialogue partners boast a total economic volume of close to $20 trillion and a total foreign trade volume of $6.6 trillion, 100 times larger than the values of 20 years ago.

For Iran and its ailing, US-sanctioned economy, joining the SCO provides access to significantly larger markets and the world’s fastest-growing international corridors. It also further consolidates Tehran’s unofficial alliance with major powers Moscow and Beijing against the West on issues such as Iran’s nuclear program.

Iran’s trade with SCO members

According to the latest data announced by Iran’s Customs Administration (IRICA), the value of trade between Iran and the members of the SCO (including observer states) reached $28 billion during the last Iranian calendar year (ending 21 March, 2021). That makes China Iran’s single largest trade partner with a trade value of $18.9 billion, almost two thirds of Iran’s total trade with SCO members.

Despite being one of the pivotal members of the organization, Russia ranks fourth in terms of trade volume with Iran, after India ($3.4b) and Afghanistan ($2.3b), recording only $1.6 billion in total trade with the Islamic Republic. According to the Iranian data, Pakistan stands fifth in terms of trade value with Iran within the bloc, while the remaining six countries have a combined trade value of just $569 million.

IRSN

Considering Iran’s total trade volume of $73.89 billion during the last Iranian (1339) calendar year – $11.2 billion lower than the previous year – Tehran’s trade with the SCO countries has already approached nearly 38 percent of its total trade, 26 percent of which was with China alone.

Iran’s other top trade partners are Iraq, UAE, and Turkey respectively, followed by Afghanistan in the same period.

US sanctions

While Iran’s accession to full membership status in the SCO can theoretically boost the country’s trade with other member states, there are significant obstacles which are unlikely to allow Tehran to reap an economic windfall, at least in the short run.

Among Iran’s most difficult obstacles is a series of US-led sanctions against the country’s financial and transportation institutions, in addition to being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global intergovernmental organization tasked with devising standards on combating money laundering and ‘terrorism financing.’ Given the exposure of most countries to US markets and financial networks, and due to the risk of heavy penalties or loss of access to US and European markets, major companies are reluctant to do business with Iran.

The former head of Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization (TPO), Mohammad-Reza Modudi, was quoted by local media earlier this week as saying that many countries, including Iran’s neighbors such as Iraq, “are not willing to do business with Iran out of fear of being sanctioned by American banks or the US Treasury.”

He added that despite Iran’s good production capability, exporting many of the Iranian-made products will not be easy. “We [Iran] have not prepared the needed capacity for these products to be competitive in international markets,” Modudi explained.

Compounding Iran’s lack of focus on the economic benefits of the SCO, is the fact that other Iranian officials view the SCO through a purely political and security lens. Hossein Malaek, Iran’s former ambassador to China, believes that Tehran’s membership in the SCO “has nothing to do with economic issues.”

In an interview with ILNA news agency last month, Malaek was quoted as saying that “Iran’s presence in the Shanghai Agreement will not have any economic aspect, and this cooperation only has security aspects,” and emphasized that “no economic agreement will be signed between Iran and the SCO.”

The political and security benefits of becoming a member state of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization might outweigh other benefits for Iran in the short run. However, if Tehran helps secure the SCO’s energy needs by increasing oil and gas output to its new partners, and facilitates much-needed land access to other markets in West Asia and Europe in the long term, Iran’s economy stands to benefit substantially from its new eastward alignment.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative – Various Viewpoints

China’s Belt and Road – Mythical Vigilante

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Rothschild Controlled Belt and Road Initiative
BRI #1 of 3
BRI #2 of 3
BRI #3 of 3
Taiwan in the Crosshairs of the Belt and Road Initiative
Israel Opens Chinese Operated Port in Haifa – Belt and Road
Afghanistan • China’s Belt and Road Initiative
From the Suez Canal to the Belt and Road

Going to War Over Taiwan and the ‘Gas Tank of Will’

Benjamin Wallace-Wells profiles Elbridge Colby and discusses his hawkishness on China in a recent New Yorker article. This section was probably the most telling part of the entire piece:

Colby’s response is to try to sever the transformational vision of the forever wars from his own hawkishness – to argue that those were neoconservative adventures, intent on democratizing foreign countries, and that his own realist camp does not envision regime change and does not aspire to remake China. “What really makes me angry, frankly, is the aggressive kind of neoconservatives and liberal hawks. They are the ones that used up that gas tank of will [bold mine-DL],” Colby told me.

It is remarkable that Colby identifies using up the “gas tank of will” in the United States as his chief objection to neoconservatives and liberal hawks. He is not put off by their militarism or the destruction they have wrought, but he is angry at them for making it harder to sell his kind of militarism to the public. Indeed, “he is troubled by whether most Americans will see Taiwan as of sufficient interest to them.”

In fact, most Americans have consistently said for years that they do not support going to war to defend Taiwan. This is one of the more noticeable gaps between foreign policy elites and the public. As the Chicago Council of Global Affairs noted earlier this year in its survey report, “Majorities of opinion leaders across partisan lines support using US troops to defend Taiwan from Chinese invasion, while a majority of the American public opposes doing so, regardless of partisan affiliation.” Public support for going to war for Taiwan has increased since 2014, but it is still only at 41%.

Read the rest of the article at SubStack

Daniel Larison is a weekly columnist for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

Source: Going to War Over Taiwan and the ‘Gas Tank of Will’

UNC215, an alleged China-linked APT group targets Israel orgs

A China-linked cyber-espionage group has targeted Israeli organizations and government institutions in a campaign that began in January 2019.

The attacks were detailed by cybersecurity firm Mandiant, the state-sponsored hackers used false flags in attempts to disguise themselves as Iran-linked threat actors.

Mandiant experts tracked the group as UNC215, its TTPs overlaps the China-linked APT27 cyberespionage group, but they have no sufficient evidence to say the the two groups are the same

“In early 2019, Mandiant began identifying and responding to intrusions in the Middle East by Chinese espionage group UNC215. These intrusions exploited the Microsoft SharePoint vulnerability CVE-2019-0604 to install web shells and FOCUSFJORD payloads at targets in the Middle East and Central Asia. There are targeting and high level technique overlaps with between UNC215 and APT27, but we do not have sufficient evidence to say that the same actor is responsible for both sets of activity.” reads the report published by Mandiant. “APT27 has not been seen since 2015, and UNC215 is targeting many of the regions that APT27 previously focused on; however, we have not seen direct connection or shared tools, so we are only able to assess this link with low confidence.”

The UNC215 group exploited typically a flaw in Microsoft SharePoint, tracked as CVE-2019-0604, to compromise vulnerable installs.

Once gained initial access to the target infrastructure, the attackers performed an extensive internal network reconnaissance and harvested credentials to conduct additional malicious activities. Experts reported that the attackers also used a non-public network scanner named WHEATSCAN along with custom malware such as FOCUSFJORD web shell and HYPERBRO to spy on internal systems and maintain persistence within the target organizations.

UNC215
The group was very sophisticated and spent a significant effort to fly under the radar, such as removing malware artifacts. The attackers also use to insert in the artifacts foreign language strings as false flags.

“The use of Farsi strings, filepaths containing /Iran/, and web shells publicly associated with Iranian APT groups may have been intended to mislead analysts and suggest an attribution to Iran. Notably, in 2019 the government of Iran accused APT27 of attacking its government networks and released a detection and removal tool for HYPERBRO malware.” continues the report.

In some attacks, UNC215 also used an Iranian hacking tool that was leaked on Telegram in 2019.

The interest of Chinese groups in the Israeli ecosystem is not surprising, Chinese companies have invested billions of dollars into Israeli technology startups.

Chinese organizations are also working on important construction projects in Israel such as the railway between Eilat and Ashdod, a private port at Ashdod, and the port of Haifa.

“The activity detailed in this post demonstrates China’s consistent strategic interest in the Middle East. This cyber espionage activity is happening against the backdrop of China’s multi-billion-dollar investments related to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its interest in Israeli’s robust technology sector.” concludes the report. “China has conducted numerous intrusion campaigns along the BRI route to monitor potential obstructions—political, economic, and security—and we anticipate that UNC215 will continue targeting governments and organizations involved in these critical infrastructure projects in Israel and the broader Middle East in the near- and mid-term.”

Industrial Zionism – Video from Brendon O’Connell

Brendon O’Connell has his finger on the pulse of the connections between Zionism, the Greater Israel Project, U.S. political theatre, the UN’s Agenda 2030, the Great Reset, Big Data/Artificial Intelligence/Deep Machine Learning and it’s looming surveillance capabilities, censorship and more. He has a YouTube channel still and his Bitchute is straight FIRE Links to his stuff are beneath the two embeds below.


Myself and Sufyan discuss what is going on while the stupid Trump impeachment distraction grinds to an inevitable and stupid predictable halt.

Document on Industrial Zionism:

Brendon O’Connell Links:

Youtube: Brendon O’Connell

Brighteon: Brendon O’Connell

Bitchute: Talpiot

Brendan O’Connell – 2020 & the Forced Economic Collapse of America

This video captures everything…check out the tags below