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EghtesadOnline: Iran is attending the Asia-Pacific ICT Ministerial Meeting 2019 (APT-MM 2019) that opened on Tuesday in Singapore.

Jointly founded by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the International Telecommunications Union, the two-day conference is organized by the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity.

Addressing the gathering, Iran’s ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi emphasized the importance of establishing mechanisms for safeguarding people’s privacy and security in cyberspace, stressing that “protecting people’s rights should be our highest priority”, his website reported.

“The future is digital. Information and communication technologies have overhauled all aspects of life in the world. In tandem with the speedy developments, the cybercrime rate has also grown,” Financial Tribune quoted him as saying.

According to Jahromi, addressing issues like fake news and cyberbullying, alongside a crackdown on online fraud, must be high on every country’s agenda. 

“These issues demand coordinated international efforts. The world is interconnected and without collaboration and coordination, authorities across the world cannot address these pressing issues,” he said.



Open Door Policy

Pointing to the exponential growth of Iranian startups, Jahromi used the opportunity to call on foreign firms to invest in Iran’s startup ecosystem.

Support for Iranian startups has been high on the Iranian government’s agenda since President Hassan Rouhani was elected for his first term in 2013. Over the years and especially after the Iran nuclear deal was signed, the sector has registered significant growth.

With the establishment of new ties between Iran and the global economy, international firms started investing in the country, especially in the startup ecosystem. However, after the US unilaterally reneged on the nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions against Tehran, the Iranian startup ecosystem’s boom began to deflate.

By introducing an open door policy, the ICT Ministry is again trying to attract foreign investment to bolster the sector. Considering the US restrictions imposed on Iran’s banking relations with the world, the strategy is expected to face hurdles.

Addressing the gathering, Jahromi said the US unilateralism has harmed global trade and imposed extensive costs on the global economy. 

“We need to stand together” in the face of US policies that threaten international trade and stability,” he added.

Later on Tuesday, Jahromi met with ITU ‎Secretary-General ‎Houlin Zhao and discussed cooperation between Iran and the UN specialized agency in the fields of communication and technological development.



Other Developments

During the gathering, the 40th establishment anniversary of APT was celebrated.

According to the event’s website, the gathering aims to provide high-level policy guidelines to the region for the next five years on developing ICT, enabling a creative economy and promoting socioeconomic development.

Furthermore, ICT’s development in APT member states was evaluated while providing a platform for the ministers to discuss other pressing issues.

The gathering is expected to adopt a ministerial statement, which will be the new five-year vision for the Asia-Pacific region on the development of information and communications technology.


Iran ICT Asia-Pacific Ministerial Meeting APT-MM APT-MM 2019