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Pres. Raeisi played key role in expansion of BRICS: Ex-White House advisor

By Alireza Kamandi

Steve Gill, a former White House trade advisor and a Tennessee-based political commentator, says Iran’s former president played an important role in the expansion of BRICS grouping.

In an interview with the Press TV website, Gill said the powerful bloc of emerging market economies is growing and expanding that augurs well for the member states and for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“BRICS seems to be growing in membership very quickly and it is both good for that group and for it to include Iran,” he stated, referring to the role played by President Ebrahim Raeisi is finalizing the process of Iran’s full membership in the group.

“Late President Ebrahim Raeisi was not only instrumental in getting Iran through the process but was also leading the expansion of BRICS throughout the Middle East. He had great credibility in the region, and it will be critical that whoever follows him has the same kind of connections.”

A BRICS foreign ministers' meeting began in Russia's Nizhny Novgorod on Monday. Iran’s acting foreign minister Ali Bagheri Kani is also participating in the meeting.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov opened the meeting on Monday with a minute of silence in memory of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and offered condolences to the people of Iran and the families of the victims.

On the sidelines of the summit, Bagheri Kani held a series of meetings with diplomats from other BRICS countries, including with Igor Levitin, who serves as a senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

He said that the late Iranian president and foreign minister emphasized the need for Iran to have close relations with Russia and other BRICS member states.

Referring to how Iran can take advantage of its membership in BRICS, Gill told the Press TV website that Iran can “solidify its position” in the bloc by finding ways to build bridges with other countries.

“This will be an “after” when the Ukraine-Russia conflict comes to an end. We need more smart people starting to figure out how that process will work and how to build those bridges as well. When that happens, I think it will open opportunities for Iran to define ways to develop new relationship relationships with the West as well,” he stated.

He further said that the Joe Biden administration, by initiating a trade war with China, will further push China, Russia, Iran, Brazil, and South Africa ahead as BRICS will be the “main beneficiary of his attempt to bully China.”

“As Russia and China are both focusing a lot of energy and investment and South and Central America and in Africa, the US seems to be sitting on the sidelines,” he noted.

“The Biden administration appears to be led by people who have academic credentials and paper expertise, but no real experience in dealing with global political, economic, or military matters. It makes the world more dangerous on all fronts.”

US President Joe Biden in May unveiled steep tariff increases on an array of Chinese imports. The measures affect $18 billion in imported Chinese goods, including steel and aluminum, semiconductors, electric vehicles, critical minerals, solar cells and cranes, the White House said.

Speaking to the Press TV website, Gill stated that under the Biden administration, relations with China, a member of the BRICS grouping, have definitely not improved.

“The Chinese have serious challenges in their economy with many factories, closing down and a softening of their manufacturing and exporting. But the US is also suffering from a weakened economy thanks mostly to Biden‘s economic policies that have hampered growth, allowed inflation to continue, and gutted American energy independence.”

The former White House trade advisor stressed that the Biden administration is completely focused on the upcoming election and is making decisions that are not meant to improve the quality of life of Americans.

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