Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg on Thursday and said the group was a new world power to confront "unilateralism", the Tehran Times reported.    

Earlier in the day, leaders of the five BRICS nations said they invited Iran, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Argentina and Ethiopia to become full members on January 1, 2024.    

Raisi said that the BRICS - whose present members are China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa - had brought together countries seeking to pursue economic cooperation and confront unilateralism, the Tehran Times said on messaging platform X, formerly known as Twitter.    

Iran's invitation to join the BRICS comes against a backdrop of long-standing tensions between Tehran and Washington over the 2015 nuclear deal, and in the Persian Gulf. Iran has hostile diplomatic relations with the United States, which has imposed sanctions on the country.      

Raisi said Iran appreciated China's support for Iran's formal membership in BRICS, whose expansion showed that unilateralism is on the decline, the Global Times, China's national English language newspaper, posted on X.     

Xi said that the expansion of the BRICS has a major impact on the world as the new members are all countries with significant influence, the Global Times reported.         

Mohammad Jamshidi, the deputy chief of staff for political affairs to Iran's president, hailed Iran's inclusion in BRICS.

"In a historic move, the Islamic Republic of Iran becomes a permanent member of BRICS. A strategic victory for Iran's foreign policy," Jamshidi posted on X.

(Editing by Seban Scaria