Iran’s role in BRICS+ is irreplaceable due to the RIC countries’ converging connectivity interests in the Islamic Republic, its impressive but untapped economic potential, and it being a part of the West Asian region that sits at the tri-continental crossroads of Afro-Eurasia in the center of the Eastern Hemisphere.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was invited to attend the BRICS+ and High-Level Dialogue on Global Cooperation summits, during which time he addressed the meeting on “Participating in Global Development in the New Era”. He praised this multipolar integration platform, its New Development Bank, and Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). The Iranian leader then pledged to support all of the organization’s goals before concluding his speech.
His country is the perfect partner for BRICS+ for multiple reasons, not least of which is that this group’s RIC core – Russia, India, and China – have converging connectivity interests in the Islamic Republic. Russia and India cooperate with Iran through the North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) that Russian Transportation Minister said at the end of May was pretty much his country’s only remaining corridor to the wider global economy nowadays following the US-led West’s unilateral sanctions against it.
As for Chinese-Iranian cooperation, these two major countries signed a 25-year strategic partnership pact in spring 2021. Moreover, Iran is one of the anchors of the China-Central Asia-West Asia Economic Corridor (CCAWAEC) to Europe. This route has become more important than ever after the West illegally sanctioned Russia and cut off trade between them since that development created an enormous obstacle to the New Eurasian Land Bridge. The CCAWAEC, however, is a practical alternative.
With RIC’s connectivity interests converging in Iran, it’s only a matter of time before those three enter into quadrilateral cooperation with their shared West Asian partner. BRICS+ is the most effective platform for doing so since this organization itself focuses mostly on economic and financial cooperation, which is precisely what the RIC countries are interested in with Iran. Its economic potential remains untapped due to the US’ sanctions but the global trend is towards not complying with them.
Sooner or later, even those will inevitably be lifted following the successfully renegotiation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iranian nuclear deal. In preparation of that, the RIC countries should make tangible progress towards fostering quadrilateral cooperation with Iran in order to maximize their existing bilateral and (in the case of Russia and India) trilateral cooperation with it so as to unleash Iran’s full economic potential upon that happening.
Iran’s inclusion in BRICS+ transforms the organization as a whole into a truly South-South cooperation platform through this West Asian country’s official participation in its multipolar framework. About that initiative, Russian thinker Yaroslav Lissovolik has dedicated several years of detailed research at his country’s top think tank, the Valdai Club, to exploring its game-changing dimensions. In fact, he even recently authored an op-ed about it for CGTN last week.
According to this respected expert, BRICS+ would pave the way for what he describes as BEAMS, which refers to “the aggregation of the regional integration blocs of all of the five BRICS members…the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area, Mercosur and the South African Customs Union.” Iran isn’t a member of any of those, but that’s exactly why its inclusion is so crucial in order to represent West Asia.
BRICS, BRICS+, and BEAMS are incomplete with that part of the world participating in this multipolar integration platform that’s gradually reforming the Western-centric model of globalization into one centered on the Global South. The grand strategic goal is to make International Relations more equal, fair, and just by changing the world through economic, financial, and integration means, which is only possible by BRICS eventually expanding its formal partners through the explained means.
Iran’s role is irreplaceable in this respect due to the RIC countries’ converging connectivity interests in the Islamic Republic, its impressive but untapped economic potential, and it being a part of the West Asian region that sits at the tri-continental crossroads of Afro-Eurasia in the center of the Eastern Hemisphere. For this reason, it’s the most perfect partner BRICS+ partner, and its official cooperation with that organization is crucial for accelerating the global systemic transition to multipolarity.