Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Tuesday said his country would welcome the enlargement of the BRICS bloc made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa by adding Argentina and Iran to the list of member nations.
Of course, both Argentina and Iran are worthy and respected candidates, as well as a number of other countries that are also mentioned in the discussions, Lavrov told the Russian news service TASS. The top diplomat made those remarks from Ashgabat, the capital of Turkmenistan, where he was on an official trip.
The most important thing is that the preliminary process has started, he added.
Lavrov said that during the recent BRICS summits Russia stressed its readiness to evaluate the enlargement of this group and Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that this discussion is justified and timely.
Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also announced on her Telegram channel Monday that Argentina and Iran had officially submitted their applications to join BRICS.
Russia considered the applications were proof that the West had failed to isolate Moscow after the invasion of Ukraine. While the White House was thinking about what else to shut down in the world, ban or spoil, Argentina and Iran applied to join the BRICS, Zakharova said.
Argentine President Alberto Fernández had said during his guest appearance at last week's BRICS virtual Summit that his country intended to join the group. Three days later, Fernández was in Germany also as a guest at the G7 Summit in the Bavarian Alps.
Iran, which has the second-largest gas reserves in the world, has formally applied to join the BRICS group, adding that its membership would mean added value for both parties.
China is by far the largest economy in the BRICS group, accounting for more than 70% of the group's collective economic power of US$ 27.5 trillion. India accounts for about 13%, and Russia and Brazil about 7% each, according to International Monetary Fund (IMF) data.
The BRICS bloc was created in 2009. All members combined, it accounts for more than 40% of the world's population and about 26% of the global economy.