Iran plans to open innovation, technology centers in Russia, Syria

February 19, 2021 - 14:55

TEHRAN – Iran plans to set up two houses of innovation and technology in Syria and Russia in the near future with the aim of finding new markets for domestic knowledge-based products in the region.

Exporting technological products of Iranian knowledge-based companies is one of the important and key programs of the vice presidency for science and technology, and in this regard, the first house of innovation and technology was inaugurated in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi on January 27.

By supporting innovative ideas, holding technological and innovative events, the centers will be a platform for the development and promotion of Iranian knowledge-based companies, startups, and creative industries.

A house of innovation and technology has already been set up as a technology exchange office in China, Mehdi Ghalehnoei, an official with the vice presidency for science and technology, said, IRNA reported.

The centers are mainly formed with the investment and support of the private sector to provide the necessary infrastructure for their exports through the innovation houses, he noted.

To enter the market of some countries, the European Product Quality Standard (CE) is required; these bases help knowledge-based companies in obtaining standards and documents, for the export of medical equipment, raw pharmaceuticals, herbal medicines, he explained.

Technology exchange with Russia, as a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Syria, is on the agenda, he added.

“We are trying to open up opportunities for exporting knowledge-based products to other countries, especially African countries, which we may have paid less attention to, or Southeast Asian countries, which will increase both the companies’ income and confront sanctions,” he highlighted.

He went on to say that last year, knowledge-based companies gained about $800 million in revenue from export, and next year (March 21), it seems to reach up to $2 billion.

Africa, neighboring countries, Southeast Asia and Eurasia are our export target priorities, and we hope to create Iranian innovation and technology in all these areas, he added.

Technology development in Iran

Despite sanctions putting pressure on the country, a unique opportunity was provided for business development and the activity of knowledge-based companies in the country.

Currently, some 5,000 knowledge-based companies are active in the country, manufacturing diverse products to meet the needs of the domestic market while saving large amounts of foreign currency.

The fields of aircraft maintenance, steel, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment, oil, and gas are among the sectors that researchers in technology companies have engaged in, leading to import reduction.

In recent years, the vice presidency for science and technology has been supporting knowledge-based companies active in the production of sanctioned items.

Vice President for Science and Technology Sourena Sattari told the Tehran Times in October 2020 that “U.S. sanctions caused exports of knowledge-based companies to decline three years ago, however, it has returned to growth and is projected to reach the pre-sanctions level of more than $1 billion by the end of the current [Iranian calendar] year (March 20, 2021).

Fortunately, last year, companies achieved a record sale of 1.2 quadrillion rials (nearly $28.5 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials), which is expected to increase by 40 percent this year.”

To date, 42 knowledge-based companies with a total value of 2.8 quadrillion rials (nearly $66.6 billion) have been listed on the stock exchange and they will soon turn into the biggest businesses in the county, Sattari said.

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