The recent proposition in the Group of Eight (G8) for its expansion and inclusion of five new emerging powers in the Group could be interpreted as a new approach by the G8 to international politics. This might have some implications for future relations of the G8 with other rising powers like Iran, especially given its nuclear program that has been a point of contention for some time.

In a changing international environment and in a world awaiting new international order that has yet to be shaped after the Cold War era, and among many multilateral forums that are mushrooming, the G8 has a special place. G8 formerly the Group of Six and later the Group of Seven : Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States; in addition of the European Union is a forum, created by France in 1975 mainly to tackle the problems that the world capitalist system faced after the oil shock of 1973. It was a turning point for the G7, an exclusive Western club, when in 1997 Russia formally joined the group and it became the G8. The G8 represent about 14% of the world population, but they represent about 60% of the Gross World Product power. Although the G8 lacks an administrative structure like those for international organizations, such as the United Nations but it has steadily and increasingly grown as a global security institution presenting itself as an alternative or a replacement of the United Nations Security Council. The initiation taken by the G8 in the military conflict in Kosovo in the spring of 1999, while the United Nations Security Council was facing a deadlock has been cited as a major success and an indication of its capacity to play a similar role elsewhere in the world. Currently four of the G8 members are among the permanent members of the UN Security Council. While in a planned expansion of the G8, the remaining permanent member namely China is to join the group.

The G8 along with the permanent membership of the Security Council of the United Nations and NATO are considered to be the main bastions of the Western powers. With dramatic changes in the geostrategic setting of the world following the end of the Cold War and rise of new powers, finally there are calls for the expansion of the G8. Ironically, the suggestion for inclusion of new members to the Group comes from France and Britain, the two powers that are vehemently clinging to the status quo for preservation of the great power privileges that they enjoy, but it is increasingly challenged by new emerging powers especially China and India. French President Nicolas Sarkozy expressed support for enlarging the summit membership of the G8 to include China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, with the aim of promotion of dialogue with emerging powers.

However, the idea of expansion of G8 seems not palatable to the United States and Japan, both having reservations about China's future role in world politics. The expansion of the G8, not to say its existence, has not been favored by some countries in the third world. They have criticized this group for vast range of global issues from environment to financial management. Similarly, some NGO's especially those active in environmental question or other issues related to globalization are campaigning against the G8 for its alleged negative role in global warming due to carbon dioxide emission, poverty in developing countries due to debt and trading policy, the AIDS problem due to strict medicine patent policy and other issues related to globalization.

Some third world countries have expressed their concerns about the expansion of the G8 for the impact it might have on the future fate of the Group of 77, the largest intergovernmental organization of developing states in the United Nations with membership of 130 countries. They fear that once China and India would join the G8 it could alter the nature of the world economy and polity, which have thus far been unkind to the 88% of the planet’s inhabitants living in the Global South. Furthermore, question has been raised about the concert of countries in the shape of G8; that how they could represent a vast array of countries who still pin hope to the collective security formula enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.

Although the idea of G8 expansion seems not happening soon, but the mere idea reflects the long due need for reshaping of the key international organizations and institutions like the United Nations Security Council and other important decision making forums like the G8 that needs to become more compatible with today's world realities. The other question relates to the criteria of membership in the G8; which the critics argue has now become unrepresentative of the world's most powerful economies. China has always had a larger economy than Canada and Russia and has in recent years surpassed every economy excluding the United States.

The case of G8 is very much the case of many international bodies' created after the Second World War namely the United Nations organs like the Security Council and its permanent membership with the right of veto. Although the setup of G8 is quite different from the UN bodies, but flaws in representation of international community are much the same. Thus, membership and the criteria of the selection of new members are needed to be taken seriously if real success is to be achieved.

For instance, it is questionable that why some countries like Iran that have the capacity to play important role in resolving some of the major global problems are excluded from this and similar forums; or worst, if Iran's nuclear program is simply to be exploited to rally unity around a common cause. The G8 leaders in their latest summit in Italy once again warned Iran that it would face further UN sanctions if it failed to halt enrichment work. That is while the US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in a letter to the Congress indicates that the US intelligence community “has no evidence that Iran has yet made the decision to produce highly enriched uranium, and INR assesses that Iran is unlikely to make such a decision for at least as long as international pressure and scrutiny persist.” [AFP- August 11, 2009]

Furthermore, Iranian officials have in the past signaled a willingness to negotiate over mechanisms to allay international fears by strengthening safeguards against Iran's uranium enrichment capacity for weaponization. Despite that the Western powers instead of engagement have sought to pursue a confrontational policy toward Iran.

Iran's pivotal role in supplying energy and in the maintenance of world's energy security is quite clear. The issue of energy security is especially acute for Europe for its dependence on Russian energy supplies. Iran not only ranks second in world's gas and oil reserves but overlooks two of the most important energy regions of the world namely, the Persian Gulf in the south and the Caspian Sea in the north. Besides that, it is important to take note of the role that Iran can play for the settlement of some crises that are raging in the area stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the borders of China. All that demonstrates that how valuable is Iran's cooperation in those areas. Thus, in this new approach, and if G8 opts to open the doors of this exclusive Western Club to other countries in the South; this could be taken as a good omen for future of international politics, signaling departure from an old Cold War mentality, that views the world divided into two rival camps.