Iran and Saudi Arabia, two regional rivals in the Middle East, have both expressed their interest in joining BRICS, a bloc of emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
BRICS, which was formed in 2009, is seen as a counterweight to Western-dominated institutions such as NATO and the IMF. The bloc accounts for about 23% of the world’s GDP and 40% of its population. BRICS also has its own development bank, the New Development Bank (NDB), which provides loans for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in member countries and other developing nations.
The potential expansion of BRICS by adding new members would enhance the bloc’s influence and diversity, and Iran and Saudi Arabia would be able to overcome their political differences and work together within BRICS.