The BRICS stand steadfast as a preeminent catalyst in molding an emerging global financial system, strikingly autonomous from the US. This perception has fueled the ambitions of many countries desiring inclusion within the BRICS’ ranks. The symposium entailing “Iran and BRICS: Prospects for Partnership and Cooperation” convened in Tehran could been seen as illustrating this narrative, reflexively endorsing Iran as a “reliable ally” for this cohort of nascent economies.
The focal point of “Iran and BRICS” symposium
The symposium themed “Iran and BRICS: Prospects for Partnership and Cooperation” was inaugurated today in Tehran. Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Amirabdollahian, had previously unveiled plans for this event during the BRICS ministerial congregation in Cape Town, South Africa – June 2. Authorities and diplomats from five BRICS nations, comprising India, China, Brazil, Russia, and South Africa were in attendance, accompanied by diplomatic envoys, representatives of foreign embassies in Tehran, and experts affiliated with Iranian governmental and private entities. This one-day symposium debuted with keynotes by the South African representative, in his capacity as the incumbent chair of the BRICS, and Mehdi Safari, Iranian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Affairs, followed by three specialized forums.
The inaugural panel discerned “BRICS and its Role in an Emerging Multipolar World”. The representatives of BRICS, along with chronicling the achievements of BRICS, forwarded their convictions about the impact of this economic amalgamation within the global apparatus. A secondary session pinned as “Multilateral Iran” encompassed presentations by Iranian experts on Iran’s performance in myriad multilateral configurations within sectors as energy, transit, technology, and innovation. Panel three elucidated upon “Iran and BRICS: Present and Future”, deliberating plausible pathways of collaboration between Iran and BRICS nations.
Offstage, the Iranian representatives conversed and traded perspectives with other dignitaries about the prospects and opportunities apt for Iran’s collaboration with the BRICS nations in domains such as transportation and transit, energy, finance and investment, emergent technologies, and beyond.
The role of BRICS in the emerging multipolar world
The upswing in convergence within BRICS is accounted as a driving force in the formation of the nascent, multipolar world. Dollarization is amongst the significant stratagems illustrated by the BRICS for realizing this objective. Some observers argue that in the wake of soaring geopolitical risks and punitive sanctions on Russia’s vast reserve assets, the supremacy of the dollar has provoked dismay amongst other significant global economies. Consequently, over the past couple of years, the Chinese yuan has assumed a candidature for a readily exchangeable currency amongst emergent economies. Nevertheless, BRICS envisions instituting a novel reserve currency, labelled “R5”, comprising the initials of the currencies of BRICS (real, ruble, rupee, renminbi, and rand), to safeguard the economic interests of the BRICS nations. The currency basket mechanism is considered by certain observers as an efficacious tool for BRICS in subverting the dominance of the dollar and incoming perils.
BRICS Perspectives on Iran
While the fundamental motive in the BRICS conglomeration is economic convergence and future roadmap focuses on sculpting a new economic architecture worldwide, the political underpinning of the BRICS appears increasingly conspicuous against the backdrop of Western dominance.
Iran’s diplomatic negotiations undeniably hold substantial significance in the progression of its membership prospects in the BRICS collective. In the preceding year, a salient theme consistently apparent in Iran’s dialogues with distinct BRICS officials has been an appeal to endorse and support its aspiration for participation in this group.
Advocates of Iran’s ingress into BRICS posit that this inclusion could bolster the economic as well as the commercial pipelines of the constituent nations. With respect to this, the North-South Corridor spanning from Russia to India may potentially emerge as a formidable nexus augmenting BRICS’ fortitude. Furthermore, Iran’s considerable reservoirs of global energy resources are also regarded as a supplementary advantage that could escalate the repute and efficacy of the BRICS institution.
Presently, the BRICS nations collectively wield control over more than one-quarter of global oil production, and half of the planet’s iron ore used in steel manufacturing. They also account for 40% of the world’s corn production and 46% of the wheat supply. Hence, BRICS is appraised as a unified force capable of manipulating its substantial influence to steer global tendencies.
Multilateralism ranks high in Iran’s strategic arsenal to mitigate the repercussions of US sanctions, whilst amplifying its competence for membership in global organizations, inclusive of BRICS. Indeed, “Multilateralist Iran” was delineated as the theme of one of the sessions in the conference convened today in Tehran.
During the aforementioned session, Iran’s Foreign Minister articulated, “Entities akin to BRICS strive to generate bargaining leverage on international platforms. Engaging productively with multilateral institutions has perpetually been prioritized in the agenda of the current Iranian government.”
Anil Sooklal, the envoy from South Africa and a speaker at the Iran-BRICS forum in Tehran, disclosed that Iran’s candidature for BRICS membership remains under consideration. He also apprised the audience about Amirabdollahian’s impending visit to South Africa for the Joint Economic Commission’s assembly on August 10.
Now, the heads-of-state of the BRICS nations are slated to congregate from August 22 to 24 in Johannesburg, South Africa’s economic and industrial nerve center. South Africa, the forthcoming meeting’s host, revealed that 22 countries have expressed interest in participating in this meeting, and another 20 countries evince inclination for inclusion in this faction. Although a definitive roster of attendees for the impending assembly has not been disclosed yet, representation from Iran, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Cuba, and Kazakhstan seems probable.
A chief agenda item for the leadership from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa would likely be the expansion of the BRICS initiative, illustrating their ambition for a more pronounced geopolitical role. This objective could lay the groundwork for an upsurge in the roster of BRICS members. Deliberation concerning the criteria, procedure, and timelines for the acceptance of prospective member states will presumably ensue at the BRICS summit in South Africa.
Contemplating challenges and potential rewards for Iran in BRICS
Iran is officially listed amongst the countries that have formally expressed desire for BRICS membership. However, some experts conjecture that Iran’s prospective journey towards BRICS affiliation may be intricate and ridden with challenges. Iran’s hypothetical membership in BRICS could partially contribute to Iran’s economic advantage and esteem, however, unrealistic aspirations regarding potential benefits from this association may result in a void between public expectations and actual outcomes.
To be considered for BRICS membership, Iran needs to deviate from its conventional market regulation strategies, adopting instead a refreshed economic blueprint which aligns with the regulatory mechanisms and executive directives of BRICS. The most pronounced repercussions of Iran’s membership in BRICS would likely comprise enhancement of Iran’s regional impact and geopolitical and geoeconomic stature, diversification of Iran’s economic allies in collaboration with emerging economies, obtaining financial resources, technological evolution, access to agricultural and food security initiatives, and also potential trade as well as lifting sanctions.