Iran and Argentina recently submitted applications to join an association of emerging economies known as BRICS, which is headed by China and Russia, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
BRICS is an acronym for the group's member states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). Reuters cited a statement by Russia's foreign ministry on Tuesday revealing that the governments in both Tehran and Buenos Aires have sought membership in the organization.
"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," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a statement posted by her official Telegram channel on June 28.
"On Monday [June 27], the official representative of the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Said Khatibzadeh, announced that he was applying to join the association [BRICS]," Sputnik, a Russian state-owned news agency, reported on June 28.
Reuters on Tuesday quoted Khatibzadeh as saying Tehran hoped to become a BRICS member as such an alliance "would result in added values for both sides."
The news agency further reported that socialist "Argentine President Alberto Fernandez, currently in Europe, recently reiterated his desire for his country to join BRICS," citing an anonymous Argentine government source.
Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez during a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the sidelines of the G7 summit at Castle Elmau in Kruen, near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Monday, June 27, 2022. (Markus Schreiber, Pool/AP)
The source noted that "there was no 'formal process' to do so as yet but that was the country's intention."
"Argentine authorities have already publicly expressed their willingness to join. It is a process that has only just begun," the source stated.
Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported on June 22 that Tehran's bid for BRICS membership "is soliciting increasing support from major members like China and Russia."
"Iran, as a country located in the center of the Near East and the Middle East, could secure a key role for the BRICS in the region. In this way, Iran's ascension can significantly strengthen its political stances in the international arena," IRNA wrote.
Iran is home to the world's second-largest known gas reserves and about one-quarter of the Middle East's known oil reserves. Tehran has been largely unable to monetize this immense natural wealth since undergoing an Islamic Revolution in the late 1970s.
"Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that swept U.S.-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi from power, Iran has been ostracised by the West and its economy crippled by a myriad of sanctions," Reuters observed on Tuesday.
BRICS works toward creating an alternative to the world's Western-led financial market. One of its founding goals is to create an international monetary system based not on the U.S. dollar, which has traditionally been viewed as the "world's reserve currency," but on the currencies of its lead member states (China's yuan and Russia's ruble). The existence of such an economy would allow BRICS member states to avoid the negative repercussions of Western-imposed financial sanctions meant to deter human rights crimes.
BRICS held its first meeting in Russia in June 2009. Germany's state-run Deutsche Welle (DW) broadcaster reported on the inaugural summit, noting that "[t]he acronym BRIC was coined in 2001 by an analyst for Goldman Sachs who argued that, by 2050, the combined economies of the BRIC nations would eclipse the combined economies of the current richest countries in the world."
"China has by far the largest economy in the BRICS grouping, accounting for more than 70% of the group's collective $27.5 trillion economic might. India accounts for about 13%, with Russia and Brazil representing about 7%, according to IMF data," Reuters observed on Tuesday.
"BRICS account for more than 40% of the world's population and about 26% of the global economy," according to the news agency.
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