Saudi Arabia and Iran Among Six Nations Invited to Join BRICS

The BRICS summit in Johannesburg concluded with the announcement of invitations extended to six new countries – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates – to join the group of major emerging economies. This expansion is aimed at increasing the group’s influence and impact, especially in strategically significant regions. The decision holds the potential to reshape global economic dynamics, while also carrying geopolitical, economic, and political implications for both the newcomers and the existing BRICS nations.


The BRICS group, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, has taken a monumental step by inviting six new members – Saudi Arabia, Iran, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates – to bolster its ranks. The announcement was made during the closure of the BRICS summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

These new invitations mark a pivotal chapter in the history of BRICS, which was originally established in 2009 with the aim of fostering economic cooperation and development among its founding members. The decision to expand the group’s membership is underpinned by the strategic placement of these new entrants, hailing from vital regions like the Middle East and Africa, coupled with their burgeoning economies and sizable populations.

Of particular note are the invitations extended to Saudi Arabia and Iran, two nations that have grappled with sanctions from Western countries, including the United States. Joining BRICS offers them a chance to pivot away from Western reliance and cultivate enhanced international backing.

The significance of this expansion reverberates through the global economy. With their combined GDP already surpassing that of the G7, the BRICS nations collectively possess a formidable economic stance. As the group’s reach widens, there’s potential for it to emerge as a principal force in shaping global economic policies and fostering growth in the developing world.

Reasons Behind the Inclusion of Saudi Arabia and Iran in BRICS:

  1. Geopolitical Leverage: Both Saudi Arabia and Iran are geographically positioned in regions of immense strategic importance – the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. Their entry into BRICS could augment the group’s influence in these critical areas.
  2. Economic Impetus: Boasting substantial populations and economies on the rise, Saudi Arabia and Iran’s inclusion could amplify BRICS’s economic prowess and clout.
  3. Reducing Reliance on the West: Striving to lessen dependence on Western economies, both nations see BRICS membership as a viable pathway to diversification and autonomy.
  4. Symbolic Inclusivity: Extending the invitation to nations with distinct political and economic systems underscores BRICS’s commitment to embracing diversity.

Implications of Saudi Arabia and Iran’s BRICS Membership:

  1. Enhanced Global Economic Influence: The combined economic strength of BRICS already surpasses the G7’s. The addition of Saudi Arabia and Iran would fortify this position, potentially bestowing the group with more sway in international trade, financial negotiations, and other key matters.
  2. Strengthened Security Collaboration: Given their shared concerns about security threats, Saudi Arabia and Iran could foster cooperation within BRICS on matters such as counterterrorism and counter-proliferation.
  3. Heightened Geopolitical Tensions: The human rights records and alleged support for terrorism in Saudi Arabia and Iran have strained their relations with the West. Their inclusion in BRICS could exacerbate these tensions.

The entrance of Saudi Arabia and Iran into BRICS is poised to reverberate across the global economy and international relations. The response of existing BRICS members and the manner in which the new entrants engage with the group’s activities remain pivotal aspects to watch in the evolving narrative. This expansion holds the promise of reshaping global economic landscapes while also presenting multifaceted challenges and opportunities on the geopolitical stage.

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