Iran eyes tech cooperation with China amid US sanctions

Global Times – Amid US sanctions, Iran is trying to boost its technology sector instead of oil, and looking for more cooperation with China, Iranian Vice President for Science and Technology Sourena Sattari told the Global Times in an exclusive interview in Beijing on Thursday.

Since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from a nuclear deal with Iran and five other countries, and imposed new sanctions on Iran, relations between the US and Iran have dropped to a record low, and Iran is facing an economic downturn.

But Sattari told the Global Times, “The sanctions are not new, the US has been sanctioning us for 40 years,” and Iran has been shifting its main economic driver from oil to technology, and he is confident that Iran has enough talent to boost its development.

The US sanctions might have an effect in some sectors, but they also offer opportunities for Iran’s development, Sattari noted. “The more pressure from the sanctions in a certain field, the better development could be reached in that field in Iran,” he said.

“People normally think Iran is an energy country as it has huge oil and natural gas reserves. That is correct. But since President Hassan Rouhani took office six years ago, we have paid more attention to technological innovation,” Sattari said.

“We have already been doing well in some fields, such as biotechnology, nanotechnology and aviation, where we would like to have more cooperation with China,” he said.

Headed by Sattari, a delegation, which includes owners of tech companies and researchers, are attending the 2019 China Hi-Tech Fair (CHTF). The booths of more than 80 Iranian tech companies have been visited, and deals and MOUs have been signed between them and Chinese companies, Sattari said.

Sattari said he was impressed by the rapid development of technology in China. China’s idea and method of connecting schools, cultures and factories are unique and suitable to Iran’s development, he added.

“We would like to use China’s ways to make our schools, culture and factories better connected, because our schools, which apply the Western education system, have very little connection with the society.”