The term “BRICS” is derived from the first letters of its five member countries, namely Brazil (B), Russia (R), India (I), China (C), and South Africa (S); of course, this economic group, which consists of five emerging economies, was known as “BRIC” at the beginning of its formation, and South Africa joined it later.
The BRICS group is one of the most essential factors in shaping the new global economy and in opposition to the US unilateralism. Although the basis of the formation of the BRICS group is the economic convergence of the global South and the group plans to shape a new economic structure in the world, it seems that the political context of the BRICS is also becoming more prominent against the domination of the West. It may be possible to imagine it along the Non-Alignment Movement.
The increase of convergence in BRICS is evaluated as one of the essential drivers for shaping the new multipolar world; one of the most critical programs and tools of the BRICS group for this purpose is de-dollarization in the future and the use of local currencies to reduce the cost of trade.
Currently, the BRICS countries produce more than 25 percent of the world’s oil and 50 percent of the world’s iron ore used for steel production. They also have 40 percent of the world’s corn and 46 percent of the world’s wheat.
The initial idea of forming the BRICS group goes back to 2001 to predict the world’s economic situation and its superior powers in the next half a century. Jim O’Neill claimed at that time that this group would be the world’s dominant economy in 2050 due to the acceleration of economic growth, abundance of labor, cheap labor, and abundant natural resources.
BRICS member countries who believe in the inefficiency of the current world system, believe in the end of the days of the hegemonic world, and following the change of its nature to a multipolar system, with the creation of this political-economic group, they seek to increase the diplomatic power of their countries in the international arena.
The request of many interested countries to join the BRICS group is aimed at confronting the unilateralism of the United States of America and the economic sanctions of that country.
Many critics and experts have considered the non-condemnation of the Russian Federation following its attack on Ukraine by China, India, and Brazil as the beginning of the era of multilateralism. The BRICS group, which at its inception had three components of political security, economic security, and social security as its goal, now having approximately achieved the first two goals (with an emphasis on financial security), has focused on social security, institutional development and increase in members and Iran’s membership together with five other countries in the group is to be evaluated in this regard. Of course, the request of the Islamic Republic of Iran to join the BRICS group is not a new issue, and its history goes back to 2019.
Iran can be important for BRICS countries in terms of its internal economic capacities such as inexpensive labor, rich natural resources, and consumer market, but more important than the first reason, Iran’s membership with its corridor capacity can be a win-win game for Iran and BRICS countries; previously, the North-South Corridor to connect the Russian Federation and India by land was discussed by Iran, and the key to start this project was pressed in 2018. The recent case is an example of many instances that the Islamic Republic of Iran has cooperated with its members within a framework outside the framework of the BRICS group.
In general, according to the correctness of the predictions of analysts of the economic and political success of the BRICS group in gaining the majority of the global economy, with a statistical comparison of the years 2009 (the year of establishment) and 2023 (the current year) and surpassing the GDP index (PPP) of this group from Group of 7 (G7), Iran’s membership in this group can be considered as a win-win game for the parties.
Iran can get out of the economic crisis in which it has been entangled, and by taking advantage of the financial capacities and political support of the members of this group, it can play a more prominent role in international relations. Using local currencies and staying away from the dollar in the exchanges of the member countries of the BRICS group is another important measure that makes the unilateral sanctions of the United States weaker and adds to the importance of this group for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Reciprocally, Iran’s consumption market, colossal oil and gas reserves, geopolitical position and corridor advantages, population of 87 million people, and abundant natural resources are among the most critical capacities of Iran, which BRICS members can use to strengthen the structure of their group further.
In late August 2023, the heads of the BRICS group approved a document regarding new members’ membership and the group’s expansion. In this document, the membership of important countries such as Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates is specified. This document can be a significant development in the current international relations and help third-world countries to be safe from the sanctions of the United States. The alignment of the BRICS group against the Group of 7 can, on the surface, evoke the atmosphere of the Cold War era. Still, it should be noted that the current international environment is different from that era, and the present member countries of the BRICS group, while strengthening South-South cooperation, have not cut off their relations with the United States and Western powers and are benefiting from the benefits of multilateral relations in line with its national strength. From January 1, 2024, the countries mentioned above will become full members of this group.
A particular and significant final point that can be referred to is the geographical index for the membership of new countries in this group, which considers the proportionality of the presence of members in different regions of the world. A particular point in this case is the presence of three countries, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, among the new members located in West Asia. Accordingly, in the context of the restoration of Tehran-Riyadh relations and within the framework of the neighborhood policy, it can be expected that this membership will lead to an increase in the level of regional cooperation of the three countries and to the establishment of more excellent stability in West Asia and development of its countries.