Outlook for Iran after membership in BRICS group of nations
Iran on Friday sent its Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to Cape Town for so-called "Friends of BRICS" talks, where he said Tehran wished to join the bloc, and hoped the mechanism for new membership would be decided "at the earliest".
The Islamic Republic is attracted to China’s idea of BRICS+ which aims to add more countries to the group in order to build a strong transcontinental multilateral alliance. The plan has provided an opportunity for other countries to forge closer links with the bloc of major emerging economies to advance their interests.
As many as 19 countries have expressed an interest in joining the BRICS group of nations which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
The bloc represents around one-fifth of the world’s economy and nearly 40 percent of the world population. At present, the five members of BRICS contribute 16 percent to world trade and around 24 percent to global GDP.
Iran’s membership in BRICS, regardless of laying the groundwork for the flourishing of trade, can be a field to test the ways to deal with the hegemony of the US dollar.
The country is a major supplier of energy, with many economic opportunities that need foreign investment to flourish. BRICS offers a platform for economic dialogue and consultation, but the problem is that many of the bloc’s members are not the main trading partners of Iran.
Establishing new economic links for export and trade partnership requires diplomatic consultations in the commercial sector and huge price discounts in order to win over rivals.
Also, attracting foreign investment among BRICS members is not easy. Most of the BRICS countries are developing countries, each angling for foreign investment.
Moreover, investing in Iran requires financial exchange with the country, which is subject to American sanctions and would result in American penalties.
Except for Russia and China, the other members are close to the West, which means until Iran has access to a global financial network, trade with most of these countries will be very difficult.
An example was Iran's money held in India during the sanctions period before the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015. India refused to pay Iran in dollars or euros for the crude oil it had purchased and insisted on settling payments in its own currency, rupees.