The five-member BRICS group on Thursday invited oil-producing giant Saudi Arabia and regional rival Iran to join their organization in what is being seen as a challenge to the Western economic powers.
BRICS — which includes Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa — wrapped up its summit in Johannesburg by announcing its membership expansion.
Along with Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, and Iran, others invited are Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates. Membership would not start until 2024.
“This membership expansion is historic,” Chinese President Xi Jinping, said. “It shows the determination of BRICS countries for unity and cooperation for the broader developing world.”
The addition brings together more countries that the United States and Western Europe have isolated. Current member Russia has suffered from Western sanctions because of its invasion of Ukraine. Iran has faced pressure over its nuclear program.
Related Story: China, Russia Pushing BRICS Members to Forgo American Dollar