Vice President says Tehran can become Silicon Valley

TEHRAN, Aug. 08 (MNA) – Sorena Sattari, Iran's vice president for science and technology paid a visit to Mehr News Agency headquarters in the center of Tehran earlier this week and sat down for an interview.

The Iranian vice president answered questions mostly about the country’s scientific progress, especially the advancement in new technologies and knowledge-based enterprises and start-ups.

He touched upon the start-up companies’ shares in the country’s GDP and their plans for the future of the country.

Sattari was positive about the future of the newly-emerged enterprises and their role in the country’s future, stressing the need for paying more attention to entrepreneurship and new businesses.

He hailed Iran’s capital Tehran’s role in boosting the newly-emerged businesses in the country, saying that Tehran could turn into a Silicon Valley in Iran.

“We are currently working on turning the entire Tehran into a big science and technology park. Can anyone find a better place than Tehran? The 16 million population living in Tehran and Karaj provide fertile ground for start-ups’ blossom,” Sattari said.

Comparing Iran’s position with other countries in the region, the vice president said that Iran is ahead of all the countries in the region in terms of new technologies, adding that Iran ranks second in Asia in terms of online shopping.

The Iranian official further praised start-ups for their productivity despite lack of access to government’s budget and playing a role in reducing the level of unemployment among university graduates, saying there are now 3,600 knowledge-based enterprises which are operating in the country.

He said that their share of the GDP will have risen to 5% of the total GDP by 2021, according to the country’s development plans.

Sattari further noted that while Iran ranked 113 according to the global indicator of innovation in 2013, its ranking improved in 2018 and reached 65, indicating a significant progress.

He expressed happiness with the level of the country’s scientific progress, saying that enterprises in various fields are all doing well.

“The number of biotech firms is lower than their IT counterparts, but their sales are comparable with ICT enterprises,” he said.

Sattari pointed out that Iran is one of the leading countries in the field of nanotechnology, predicting that the sales of nanotechnology companies will reach dozens of millions of dollars in the near future.

He said that more than 100 firms are operating in the field of stem cell, of which 70 are knowledge-based companies and their commercialization of their products has begun.

The official further stated that the country is in a good position in producing medical equipment, adding that there are also companies that have started working in the field of oil.

In relation to the possible impacts of US sanctions on the activities of the country’s companies, Iran's vice president for science and technology said “knowledge based companies could flourish more in this situation (under sanctions).”

He said that in the ICT area, the Iranian national currency the rial’s oscillation against foreign currencies will not affect the activities of the companies, while acknowledging that some other knowledge-based firms could face difficulties.

With regard to target markets for knowledge-based companies’ products, Sattari said most of the exports of knowledge-based products have been to China and Southeast Asia, while regional countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan have also imported their products.”

On the exports to China, the Iranian official pointed out “we could not believe the day we shipped the first product to China, but now we have two pavilions in China that operate in the field of nanoscience, biotechnology and medicinal plants.”

Sattari added “next week, I will travel to Georgia with the aim of expanding bilateral cooperation and I will be accompanied by some 50 to 60 knowledge-based companies. We are also going to go to Ethiopia, Uganda and Kenya. That will be our first experience in Africa.”

He touched upon the important role that Tehran plays in the development of startups in the country, saying “Tehran is the best place to do knowledge-based activities. Tehran is among the top 50 science and technology regions in the world.”

All the necessary infrastructure is available to create a smart and creative city in Tehran, he said, adding “you will not find any city in Iran that has as many highly prestigious universities as Tehran, as well as a great market for technological businesses.”

Meanwhile, he stressed that all the talented people are not in the capital and other big cities such as Isfahan, Mashhad, and Shiraz are witnessing growing number start-ups as well.

KI/ 4367681

News Code 136540


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