Why Iran is Absent from the G20

The G20 is an international forum for the governments of 20 major economies. Its membership consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union (EU). The group was founded in 1999, almost a decade after the fall of communism in the Eastern Bloc. Collectively, the G20 represents approximately 90 percent of the world’s combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and two thirds of the planet’s population.

A 2015 International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on countries’ GDP ranked Iran below Turkey and Saudi Arabia. This is rather astonishing, since Iran has greater sources of energy, vaster underground reservoirs, greater human resource and a larger consumer market than the other two countries.

The inability to develop the country’s natural resources is the direct result of the political system rather than any particular economic mistake. Misguided policies have hindered economic growth and deterred foreign and domestic investment. The country’s brightest and most skilled professionals have also been leaving in a brain drain to work abroad.

Iran has been politically and economically isolated in the world. Its support for extremist groups, its political meddling in the region and its military involvement in sectarian conflicts have made the regime a political pariah on the world stage.

The regime’s policies have stifled the development of Iranian society. Failed industries, diminished manufacturing, a depressed domestic market and a disregard for cultural and environmental issues have brought the country to the brink of social and economic meltdown.

While Turkey and Saudi Arabia strengthen their world economic status as members of the G20, the Islamic Republic continues to squander the country’s wealth and resources in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Lebanon in the hope of asserting itself as a regional power.

With its vast resources, Iran could have become the 21 member of the G20. However, the regime’s ambitions have failed to secure a prominent place for Iran within the international community, and instead have derailed the country’s political, social and economic development.

The 19 member countries of the G20 are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.