Jannie Rossouw, professor at the Wits Business School, noted that the primary objective of BRICS was always to create an alliance of all of the world’s emerging economies to rival the G7, according to Eyewitness News. Therefore, he added, the strategy must be to get trade among these countries growing.
Rossouw believes the financial aspect of the alliance had generally been “a failure” up until now but said the Chinese and Russians were pushing forward on this front and he expects them to invest in infrastructure projects with the entry of the new members. “The choice of these countries is far from insignificant.”
International relations analyst, Professor John Stremlau, also noted that China is likely behind the addition of Iran and the United Arab Emirates, a hunch that is shared by geopolitics professor Xavier Aurégan at Université Catholique de Lille, France.
Aurégan told the Brussels Signal news outlet that one can see an attempt by Beijing “to rally governments and populations that have not had the opportunity to be represented in the main multinational institutions [except in the UN]”.
An Iranian analyst, Ali Behboudian, however, believes that the previous statement does not hold true for Iran as the regional power has over the years gained the membership of OPEC+, the Economic Cooperation Organization, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to name a few, to emerge from its diplomatic and economic isolation, making the new BRICS membership “more of the same”.
Writing for the German IntelliNews, Behboudian expects that Iran’s new membership will pave the way for further increase in its commercial exchanges with BRICS+ members through ease of bilateral trade tariffs and facilitated customs procedures. “For the sanction-bound Iranian economy, any opportunity to boost trade will be a boon,” he said, citing the country’s soaring oil exports to India this year as evidence.
Meanwhile, the group recently revealed its plan to move away from the US dollar and settle trades in the national currencies of its member countries — something that Tehran, along with Russia and China, is very keen to see happen, according to Behboudian. He cautiously notes that US sanctions on Iran will be a serious impediment to extending funds from the New Development Bank (NDB) of BRICS for development projects in Iran, especially since both India and China are deeply involved in the development of Iran’s southern Chabahar port and would require NDB funding.
Aurégan also likes to bring attention to the effort that was made to bring together Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as two African sub-regional powers, Egypt and Ethiopia.
“Until recently, the inclusion of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE together in the same economic or political organization would have been unthinkable, as tensions escalated following the collapse of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal and a series of attacks attributed to the country since,” AP writers Gerald Imray and Mogomotsi Magome maintained.
But as the coronavirus pandemic receded, the UAE became the first to re-engage diplomatically with Iran. In March, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced that they had reached a détente with Chinese mediation. China has sought closer relations with all three nations, particularly Iran, from which it has imported oil since the collapse of the nuclear deal.
“For Saudi Arabia, the planet’s premier exporter of crude oil, being positioned within the same economic framework as China, the foremost oil importer globally, lays the foundation for collaborative energy strategies and economic diversification. The incorporation of Iran offers an avenue for dialogue and economic partnership, potentially fostering stability in a volatile milieu.”
Instability can still be sown, especially by Iran’s two arch-nemeses, the US and Israel. While some observers said Tehran’s inclusion risked coloring the bloc with an anti-American hue, others were quick to note that Venezuela, which also has strained relations with the West, was rejected from becoming a member of the bloc.
“China, Russia, and Iran are certainly anti-US. Saudi Arabia is having major differences with the United States on certain issues. However, India, Brazil, and Egypt are not in the China camp. Nor is UAE,” Seema Guha concluded on Outlook India.
There are differences among many of the member states, and India and China have been locked in a military stand-off in Ladakh since the summer of 2020. Tension between the two Asian giants continues, Guha said. Yet, all BRICS members agree on reforming the existing international system and building alternatives to the current US-dominated economic and political