BRICS Bloc Is Getting 6 New Members

They include Iran, Saudi Arabia, UAE
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 24, 2023 4:25 AM CDT
6 More Countries Set to Join BRICS Bloc
Members of the media watch Russia's President Vladimir Putin address via videolink the 2023 BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023.   (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Iran and Saudi Arabia are among six countries that will join the BRICS bloc of developing economies as new members from 2024, South Africa's president said Thursday. United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt, and Ethiopia are also set to join the bloc that is currently made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, whose country presently chairs BRICS, made the announcement at a bloc summit in Johannesburg, the AP reports. The five current members agreed at this week's summit to expand the bloc after two days of talks, although Ramaphosa said the idea of expansion had been worked on for over a year.

This is the second time that BRICS has decided to expand. The bloc was formed in 2009 by Brazil, Russia, India, and China. South Africa was added in 2010. The BRICS bloc currently represents around 40% of the world's population and contributes more than a quarter of global GDP. Three of the group's other leaders, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, are attending the summit and were present alongside Ramaphosa for the announcement. Russian President Vladimir Putin did not travel to the summit after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him in March for the abduction of children from Ukraine.

The inclusion of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates together in the same economic or political organization would have been unthinkable in recent years amid escalating tensions following the collapse of Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal and a series of attacks attributed to the country since. But the UAE was first to reengage diplomatically with Iran as it emerged from the coronavirus pandemic and following missile attacks on Abu Dhabi claimed by the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen. In March, Saudi Arabia and Iran announced they reached a separate détente with Chinese mediation.

(Read more BRICs stories.)

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