Iran Joining BRICS Bloc Signifies Further Infiltration Of Africa

(New York, NY) – Last month, Iran confirmed it would be joining the BRICS bloc, which was founded in part by South Africa, including Ethiopia and Egypt among its members, and is considering further expansion of membership by Algeria, Senegal, and Nigeria, among others. Tehran’s acceptance of the BRICS invitation is another example of the regime’s exploitative interest in South Africa in particular and gaining a stronger foothold on the African continent more broadly. This topic is explored in depth in United Against Nuclear Iran's (UANI’s) newest resourceIranian Infiltration of Africa.

South Africa, considered Africa’s most developed country and Iran’s most important partner on the continent, has advocated for Iran’s accession to BRICS since 2017. Tehran even sent Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian to Pretoria in August 2023 to confirm South Africa’s support in the bloc’s vote to accept Iran. 

While the BRICS countries are centered around political and economic collaboration, Iran’s infiltration of Africa is designed to address the Islamic Republic’s need for strategic arms routes for the regime's various proxy wars. Iran also has a keen ideological interest in Africa’s Muslim population to advance its long-term goal of spreading its extremist variant of Shia Islam. 

Of particular concern to UANI researchers is Iran’s intention to utilize the mutual enmity of the United States to exploit various Islamic groups in West Africa and spread Iran’s extremist values, as is seen in the creation and radicalization of al-Shabaab. The al-Qaeda affiliate took advantage of the weak central governance of Somalia, which serves as a fertile ground for terrorists. The terrorist group remains active today and receives Iranian material, financial, and logistical support.

The recent expansion of the BRICS bloc similarly signifies that when a non-Western-led vision of the world is on the table, countries like Iran that seek to advance their own anti-American agenda are quick to buy in. 

UANI analysis spans from the beginning of Iran’s focus on Africa in the 1960s until the present day, with sections highlighting almost a dozen African countries. 

To read the full resource Iranian Infiltration of Africa, please click here.