Economy, Sci & Tech

Proposed ICT Minister Promises More, Better Internet

Proposed ICT Minister Promises More, Better Internet
Proposed ICT Minister Promises More, Better Internet

President Hassan Rouhani introduced his new Cabinet line-up to the Majlis on Tuesday in an open session broadcast live on state TV.

His choice for the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology – a key portfolio given the unwanted sensitivity of Rouhani’s political opponents to all things ‘e’ and the Internet, is Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, according to Donya-e-Eqtesad.

He has been quoted as saying that he will turn things around when it comes to the most important need of the country and Rouhani’s top economic priority: high-speed Internet.

If approved by Parliament, Jahromi, 35, will be the first minister born after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

He is an electrical engineer who has been the ICT deputy minister, chairman of the board and managing director of  the Telecommunications Infrastructure Company (TIC) for two years.

In addition to his above positions, he also served as a non-executive member of the board of directors at Rightel —the third mobile network operator in the country— from 2014 to 2016.

And roughly from 2009 to 2014 he served as general manager of the communications systems security department at the Communication Regulatory Authority (CRA).

 General Perspectives

The proposed minister has given a general perspective of his future plans and has said he wants to move gradually toward building a ‘culture in cyber space.’

He supports a strategy to lift restrictions on popular websites like YouTube and Blogger in Iranian universities.

In an interview with Financial Tribune’s sister publication, Jahromi said that his plans “will not be restricted to mere telecom fields but will cover ecosystems, developing information technology and startups”.

Putting emphasis on developing startups, he says, “Through startups we can reach the capacity of creating more than 100,000 jobs.”

“We need to establish a number of Unicorn companies [a startup company valued at over $1 billion] helping shape the main structure of the economy under the auspices of ecommerce or sharing economy.”

On the subject of Internet access – not a new debate in the country -- he says “one of our priorities is to promote transparency and freedom of information and deliver quality and (higher) speed internet to users.”

It remains to be seen how much of his ambitious plans will come to fruition. It needs mention that the engineer proposed for the top telecoms job is a close aide and  confidant of the outgoing minister, Mahmoud Vaezi.

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