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BRICS: Opportunity for Iran’s economy and power
The Islamic Republic of Iran has recently applied to join the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
Participation in international organizations essentially gives more power to member states, which is the reason why Iran should join such organizations. There are important actors at play in every organization, specifically in BRICS, which can aid Iran to secure its interests in various fields.
Regional and international organizations such as D-8 (which consists of major Muslim developing countries) and BRICS are often described as bodies seeking to impose a new world order alongside the liberal order that currently dominates the international system. Whether they will be able to change the order is questionable, but over the past two or three decades, China and Russia have relatively succeeded in creating a regional order in some parts of the world.
Western countries, of course, are afraid of the prospect of these regional organizations becoming an instrument for China to contest the existing world order. But the Chinese and Indians firmly insist that regional organizations like BRICS do not aim to stand in opposition to the existing world order. The two Asian states want to solve some problems of the less developed or developing countries in parallel with older international organizations, which have not paid much attention to the development of the ‘Global South’, in other words, underdeveloped countries. Now, regional organizations strive to compensate for this shortcoming by focusing more on developing the Global South countries. For instance, in bridging East and West, China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative passes through countries that are not economically developed, potentially bringing great economic boons for them.
The most significant common ground between BRICS member states may be their inclination to issue new rules in contrast with the liberal world order. Nevertheless, the member states are at radically different stages of development. For instance, China is markedly more developed than Brazil. India is under pressure from the US to participate in the scheme to contain China. Russia is engaged in an ongoing military operation in Ukraine. Therefore, the biggest threat facing BRICS is the asymmetry in power among its member states. China seemingly has to take on more responsibility in strengthening BRICS compared to the other current and future member states.
Regardless, Iran’s tenable initiative to apply for membership in BRICS opens up a new window of opportunity for Tehran to boost its economy and power.
Iran, Syria urge political solutions to address regional concerns
Iran on Saturday expressed opposition to any military operation against Syria, after Turkey threatened to launch a new offensive on Kurds in the north of the country.
“We understand the existing concerns, but we are against resorting to military operations to solve problems,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said while meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
Amir-Abdollahian called for “direct talks” to alleviate concerns. Turkey has launched a string of offensives in Syria since 2016 targeting Kurdish militias and Syria-backed forces.
In recent weeks, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had planned to launch a military offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria “waging an insurgency” against his country, AFP reported.
Upon arrival in Damascus, Iran’s top diplomat said he would “try to resolve misunderstandings between Turkey and Syria through diplomacy and political talks”.
Amir-Abdollahian’s trip to Syria came five days after he visited Turkey.
“After my visit to Turkey… it is necessary to have consultations with the Syrian authorities,” he said.
On Monday, Amir-Abdollahian said he understood the need for a new Turkish military operation against Kurdish militias in northern Syria.
“We understand Turkey’s security concerns very well,” he told a joint news conference in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“We understand that… maybe a special operation might be needed,” he said, adding, “Turkey’s security concerns must be addressed fully and permanently.”
In his Saturday meeting, Amir-Abdollahian also condemned Israeli airstrikes on Syria and “the West’s silence and double standards” in dealing with such attacks.
“The failure to deal seriously with the destructive and aggressive actions of the Zionist regime shows that the Western countries’ claims to try to stabilize security in Syria is not true,” he said, adding that such inaction “has further emboldened the racist Zionist regime in its efforts to disturb the situation in Syria”.
Assad echoed Amir-Abdollahian’s stance, calling for a political solution and dialogue to address common concerns and threats in the region.
“We welcome a solution that keeps Syria away from war,” the Syrian president said, hailing Iran as “part of the political solution” in the region.
Assad noted that the balance of power is being changed in favor of Syria and Iran.
He also accused Western countries of “inciting things in Syria in order to settle accounts and win concessions from parties involved”.
OPEC says Iran’s 2021 oil revenues surpass $25b
A report released by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) showed that Iran has earned more than $25 billion in revenue from oil exports in 2021.
OPEC reported $560 billion in revenue from oil sales in 2021 in its annual report, which shows a 77 percent increase in comparison with a year earlier, reported ifpnews.com.
OPEC’s 13 members’ revenue from oil exports was $317 billion in 2020.
Iran’s revenue from oil sales in the year 2021 tripled compared to the year before.
Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji said on Thursday that the global oil market needs to increase supply from Iran.
He added that disrupting energy security and intensifying market fluctuations is a lose-lose game for all players in the field.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 30th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting which was held via videoconference, Owji noted that the OPEC+ will continue to monitor developments on a regular basis and take any action necessary to maintain stability in the oil market.
“Recent developments in the global economy have shown an increase in inflation in many countries, and fuel prices have risen significantly,” said the Iranian minister.
The return of Iranian oil to the global market can meet the needs of some customers and help the formation balance in global markets, he added.
As the largest holder of oil and gas resources in the world, Iran is ready to increase its oil production to the level of pre-sanctions in the earliest possible time, Owji concluded.
The OPEC and allied producing nations decided on Thursday to boost production of crude by 648,000 barrels per day in August.
Strong earthquake kills five in southern Iran
At least five people were killed and 84 others injured after a series of earthquakes rocked southern Iran on Saturday.
Some 30 quakes, including two with a magnitude of 6.1 and 6.3, struck west of the major port city of Bandar Abbas in Hormuzgan Province with the first one hitting at 2 a.m.
The temblors were 10 kilometers deep and caused people to pour out in panic.
The earthquakes were felt in many neighboring countries.
Hormuzgan Governor Mehdi Dousti said the village of Sayeh Khosh, with 300 households, was the hardest hit as half of homes were flattened.
National television showed footage of residential buildings reduced to rubble in Sayeh Khosh, which was near the epicenter.
A local official told IRNA that all of the victims died in the first earthquake and no one was harmed in the next quakes as people were already outside their homes.
Iran’s Red Crescent Society said search and rescue operations had ended and that quick-hit residents had been accommodated in makeshift shelters.
National TV said 150 quakes and tremors had struck western Hormuzgan over the past month.
Major geological fault lines crisscross Iran, which has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years. A magnitude 7 earthquake that struck western Iran in November 2017 killed more than 600 people and injured more than 9,000.
In February 2020, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake in northwestern Iran killed nine people.
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