China and Russia have welcomed future expansion of the influential group of the world’s emerging economies, known as BRICS, to include Iran, which has formally applied to join the bloc.

Iran PressEurope: The BRICS group comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. The countries account for more than 40% of the global population and nearly a quarter of the world's gross domestic product.

Iran, which holds the world’s second-largest gas reserves, has applied to join the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa that Beijing and Moscow cast as a powerful emerging market alternative to the West.

"We noticed that many countries, including Iran and Argentina, have favorably expressed their will to join BRICS," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a press conference on Tuesday.

" As the BRICS chair for this year, China actively supports BRICS in starting the membership expansion process," he added.

Speaking on Monday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh announced that Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian had forwarded a formal membership request to the group.

China has by far the largest economy in the BRICS grouping, accounting for more than 70% of the group’s collective $27.5 trillion economic might. India accounts for about 13%, with Russia and Brazil each accounting for about 7%, according to IMF data.

BRICS account for more than 40% of the world’s population and about 26% of the global economy.

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On Friday, President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi addressed the BRICS Business Forum's virtual summit at China's invitation, saying the Islamic Republic could serve as a "sustainable partner" connecting the BRICS to energy chokepoints and significant markets around the globe given its unique geopolitical and geo-economic position.

'Iran a worthy partner'

Also, on Tuesday, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov commented on Tehran and Buenos Aires' applications for BRICS membership, calling the countries "worthy and respected candidates," Russia's ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

"The most important thing is that the preparatory process [for BRICS' expansion] has been launched," the top Russian diplomat stressed, adding, "The main criterion here will be to ensure further effectiveness and increase the practical impact of the bloc's work."


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