Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf says the country will soon join BRICS PAY, an electronic banking system used by the BRICS alliance of emerging economies, amid plans by Tehran to dodge banking restrictions caused by US sanctions.
Speaking in an open session of the Iranian parliament on Saturday, Qalibaf said that Iran will access BRICS PAY as of January 1, 2024.
“That gives us a major opportunity to work with big countries,” he said while elaborating on growing trade between Iran and original BRICS members, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Iran was invited to join BRICS on August 24 as part of a decision by the bloc to accept six new members.
Iran’s membership came nearly two months after it joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a bloc also led by major economies like China, Russia and India.
Qalibaf made the remarks about BRICS PAY after a visit to South Africa where he attended a meeting of BRICS parliament speakers.
He said Iran’s access to the banking system would eliminate the need for access to SWIFT, a Belgium-based financial messaging system which has banned Iran from its services over the past years because of US sanctions.
The Iranian parliament speaker said China, Russia, India and South Africa account for some 30% of Iran’s entire trade, adding that BRICS PAY would be a major boost to Iran’s efforts to maintain and increase its trade relations with the rest of the world.
He described the creation of the payment system as a major achievement for BRICS because it facilitates trade by reducing the need for access to Western-dominated systems like SWIFT.
A statement on BRICS PAY website says the system seeks to enable businesses and consumers within the bloc and beyond “to securely and seamlessly make and receive payments in their local currency” while trying to “reduce the cost and complexity of international payments”.