EghtesadOnline: Iran’s ICT minister says the United States’ belligerence has proved harmful for global trade and stability.
Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi made the statement during a meeting with Mikhail Mamonov, Russia’s deputy minister for digital development, communications and mass media, ICT ministry’s website reported.
“The targeting of Chinese tech firms, ZTE and Huawei, showed the US animosity would not be directed toward Iran alone,” Jahromi said while referring to sanctions imposed by US President Donald Trump against these Chinese companies.
Washington imposed harsh sanctions against Tehran last year. The embargo—likened to “economic terrorism” by Iranian officials—has taken a heavy toll on the country’s economy, Financial Tribune reported.
The United States has put Huawei on an export blacklist, citing “national security issues”, barring American suppliers from selling to the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker and No. 2 maker of smartphones, without special approval. The firm has denied its products pose a security threat.
“China’s Huawei has taken a harder-than-expected hit from the ban,” the company’s founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei, said.
According to Ren, the ban will hit Huawei’s revenue by $30 billion.
The ban has forced companies, including Alphabet Inc’s Google and British chip designer ARM, to limit or cease their relationships with the Chinese company.
Call for Unity
According to Jahromi, all countries are susceptible to American belligerence and the only way of fending off this unrelenting hawkish approach is by forging regional collaborations.
“Joint efforts between Iran and Russia can provide the two countries with means to counter US interventionism,” he said.
Pointing to progress made by Russian tech firms in the fields of cybersecurity, the minister said collaborations between Iran and Russia should be expanded in the sector.
He noted that 33 million cyberattacks were forestalled in the last Iranian year that ended in March 2019.
Jahromi invited his Russian counterpart to participate in the upcoming Iran International Electronic, Computer & E-Commerce Exhibition (ELECOMP 2019), which is to be held in Tehran during July 18-21.
During the meeting, Mamonov emphasized the importance of regional collaboration by saying that an ICT deal among Iran, Russia, Turkey and Azerbaijan will hopefully be implemented soon.
As per the agreement signed by the four countries on the sidelines of Bakutel 2018, they will establish startup centers with a joint investment of $2 million to expand technological collaboration.
The 24th Azerbaijan International Telecommunications, Innovations and High Technologies Exhibition and Conference, Bakutel 2018 was held on Dec. 4-7 at the Baku Expo Center.
On the sidelines of the event, Iran’s ICT minister met with his counterparts from Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, Konstantin Noskov, Ramin Namiq Oglu Guluzade and Mehmet Cahit Turhan respectively.
According to the website of Iran’s ICT Ministry, the four ministers signed an agreement to set up startup centers that will connect knowledge-based companies and help build technological cooperation among the four countries.
“Based on the agreement signed by Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan and Turkey, centers will be set up to facilitate scientific and technological collaboration among the four nations. Each country will invest $500,000 in the project that will link experts and the educated youth. The project will also help expand technological collaboration in the region,” Jahromi said.
Pointing to the need for state support for startups and knowledge-based firms, Jahromi called for the establishment of a “regional startup center”.
He noted that “startups and digital businesses are gradually claiming a bigger share of the global economy. Governments need to see the change engineered by startups and their expansion, and support such firms”.
“The number of startups has grown significantly in Iran,” he said, lamenting the fact that the firms have not been able to claim a fair share of the global market.
“Creating joint startup centers can and will certainly help such firms expand their operations.”
Jahromi pointed to talks held by the four countries over the establishment of a joint ICT market on the sidelines of the TurkmenTEL 2018 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in October.
As per the earlier meetings, national currencies of the countries could be used for trade in the proposed market. The joint market would initially be regulated by governments and later oversight would be delegated to the private sector.