0544 GMT March 17, 2018
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Iran fully fits the criteria for membership of the 'Shanghai Five' and said that discussions on its bid to join will happen this summer, Newsweek reported.
"Next in line [for membership]...is Iran, which has resolved issues related to sanctions from the UN Security Council," Lavrov told Russian state news agency Itar-Tass.
Iran has expressed a wish to become full member of the group and was given observer status in 2005, allowing it attend summits.
The country now "fully meets the criteria for membership", Lavrov told journalists at the end of a meeting of the group's foreign ministers.
He added that the possibility of offering Iran a full place in the organization will be on the agenda in the upcoming meeting of the bloc in Kazakhstan in June.
Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are fully fledged members while India and Pakistan are in the process of becoming full members.
Lavrov said the summit in June would also cover more cooperation in education and joint efforts in fighting illegal drug trade, plus the vaguely defined effort to crack down on 'extremist ideology'.
The policy aims of the bloc, particularly in military cooperation, have so far been limited. However, the group notably rejected the US from gaining observer status in 2004, reinforcing the impression that its goal is to exist in opposition to Western political and military alliances.