Participants of the BRICS summit pose for a group photo at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on August 24, 2023

Ex-Diplomat Says BRICS Cannot Help Iran Without A Deal With The West

Monday, 08/28/2023

Amid Islamic Republic's international isolation, a few individuals with close ties to the regime appear optimistic about the country's recent inclusion in BRICS.

However, observers and experts in Tehran are starting to question the significance of this membership, particularly its unclear economic implications that Iranian officials have yet to elucidate.

There have been numerous social media posts about President Ebrahim Raisi's incoherent mumbling upon his return from South Africa at Tehran's airport. It can hardly be translated into any language including Persian, as it sounds like Greek to anyone, including Persians.

Nour News, a media outlet linked to Iran's Supreme Council of National Security, has offered this seemingly sophisticated explanation in a Threads post: "Six new members have been added to BRICS from the continents of America, Asia, and Africa. With these additions, 45 percent of the world's population and the owners of more than 30 percent of the world's gross product are now part of this alliance. This development signifies the breakdown of the old order that was rooted in geopolitics and the rise of a new order founded on geoeconomic cooperation."

The numbers, whatever practical implications they hold for Iran, are primarily driven by the substantial populations of India and China. However, the potential benefits of these figures for Iran remain uncertain, especially while the US sanctions are still in effect.

President Ebrahim Raisi during the BRICS summit in South Africa's Johannesburg on August 24, 2023

Kourosh Ahmadi, a former Iranian diplomat at the United Nations told Entekhab website in Tehran, " We cannot hold any hope of benefiting from the financial resources of BRICS as long as US sanctions remain in place," he emphasized. He went on to add, "Iranian officials must not be consumed by illusions regarding membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS. Should they fall into such illusions, their membership could prove more detrimental than not being members at all"

Ahmadi pointed out that BRICS members decided to magnify the alliance's importance after several years of disputes particularly between India and China. India had concerns about the possible anti-Western tendency of BRICS. Ahmadi further noted that some of the pro-West and pro-East countries invited to the South Africa summit, were not interested in becoming members. 

The interactions between the leaders of China and India were notably less than friendly. In contrast, while Saudi Arabia was granted membership, Riyadh expressed its intention to deliberate on the issue. Evidently, Riyadh does not share Iran's urgency to forge alignments with either China or the United States.

Ahmadi expressed doubt that, in the long run, expanding the number of its members would necessarily elevate the significance or influence of BRICS, and added, "I can hardly contain my laughter when I hear Iranian officials suggesting that BRICS will undermine the international dominance of the US dollar."

According to Entekhab it is doubtful that Iran could benefit from its BRICS membership without finalizing the negotiations with the United States and Europe over the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA). Ahmadi defined BRICS simply as "a forum for dialogue." He added that it even lacks a secretariat and a charter. Its founders defined it as "a way to promote dialogue and cooperation between the member states." He further added: "It is something like the Non-Aligned Movement." 

Ahmadi reiterated that "Iranian officials should understand that without sorting out the nuclear issue through negotiations and without accepting the terms of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), membership in organizations like BRICS or Shanghai cannot help Iran." 

Regarding the Iranian government's propaganda, he said: "The government has every right to promote itself, but independent and knowledgeable individuals are also free to accept or dismiss it."


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