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Iran has applied to join the BRICS group of major emerging economies, which includes China, Russia, and India, Reuters reported on Tuesday, a move that would help to secure an alternative alliance to the West.
Iran is a major oil and gas resource holder, as is Russia, while China is the world's top oil importer and one of the biggest gas importers.
BRICS, an acronym of its members Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is what China and Russia pitch as the emerging markets alternative to the West. The term for the informal group of emerging economies was originally coined in 2001 as "BRIC" by Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'Neill in his report, Building Better Global Economic BRICs.
The group in its current form represents 41 percent of the global population, accounts for one-fourth of global GDP, and 16 percent of world trade.
Iran has held close ties with China and Russia in recent years, and China is the main market for Iranian oil exports. Iran, under sanctions from the United States since 2018, has continued to export part of its oil to China, which generally rejects U.S. sanctions.
Russia, for its part, is also looking to strengthen relations with countries it considers "friendly" – such as China and Iran – as the "unfriendly" countries, including the U.S., the EU, the UK, Australia, and other U.S. allies, impose sanctions on Russia's economy, banking industry, and oil exports over the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
If Iran joins BRICS, this "would result in added values for both sides," a spokesperson for Iran's Foreign Ministry told Reuters.
Apart from Iran, Argentina has also applied to join the BRICS group, Russia says. According to Russia, the enlargement of BRICS is evidence that the West cannot isolate Moscow.
"While the White House was thinking about what else to turn off in the world, ban or spoil, Argentina and Iran applied to join the BRICS," Reuters quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as saying on Tuesday.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com