Rouhani doubles down with ‘Digital Economy’ Plan

From Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

Rouhani doubles down on Iran’s conservatives with ‘digital economy’ plan

After receiving criticism for unblocking the popular social media app Telegram, which was closed over the recent protests that rocked Iran, President Hassan Rouhani is not retreating from his position. In fact, his administration is reportedly preparing to spend money to create more digital jobs and attempt to bring Iran up to date in the cyberworld.

According to the president’s news agency, the Cabinet meeting Jan. 17 was devoted to discussing a “digital economy.” Rouhani said that the internet “drastically changes the understanding of employment, especially when it comes to services.” He added that it is possible to benefit from this field in order to support the government’s efforts to “increase domestic capacities.”

Presumably to the more conservative-minded officials and religious leaders who seek more control of the internet, Rouhani said that an inability to understand the speed of changes taking place online will cause a fissure with the younger generation. He added, “The administration must not fall behind the world in its efforts to develop the field of cyberspace.”

Rouhani said the administration and the National Center for Cyberspace will review a number of issues, including the “current state of cyberspace, the trends and future of cyberspace, changing the models of success, and the principal function of cyberspace in Western economic systems.”

Mohammad Javad Azar Jahromi, the 37-year-old minister of information and communications technology, tweeted Jan. 17 that the economic officials from the administration and the National Center of Cyberspace will present a strategy report to the administration within a month for the “development of a digital economy.” In a following tweet, Azar Jahromi added, “With the approval of the president for youth employment, a $125 million line of credit will be secured for the following two years for new businesses” in the digital area and to develop services for Iran’s national internet network.

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