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Iranian Minister: "We see Azerbaijan as a strategic partner in IT field" - INTERVIEW

Iranian Minister: "We see Azerbaijan as a strategic partner in IT"
© Report / Sultana Ahmadbayli

Iranian Minister of Information and Communication Technologies Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, who visited Azerbaijan to attend the 25th Anniversary Azerbaijan International Telecommunications, Innovation and High Technologies Exhibition Bakutel 2019, gave an interview to Report.

- As you know, the 25th Anniversary Azerbaijan International Telecommunications, Innovation and High Technologies Exhibition Bakutel 2019 is being held in Baku between December 3-5. Iranian companies are also represented in this exhibition. Could you please share your impressions of your visit to Baku and the participation of Iranian companies in the exhibition?

- Iran has taken an active part in the Bakutel exhibition for some years. During this year's exhibition in Azerbaijan, we saw progress and development in the field of innovations and technologies. I took part in this exhibition for the first time four years ago. At that time mainly traditional exhibition featuring e-government, communication devices, and such products, were held. But today the exhibited are Hi-Tech products. I think Azerbaijan invests more in creativity in this field and seeks to attain progress in this field. We can clearly see it in the exhibition.

Iran is represented by 15 companies in the exhibition and they are actively holding discussions with companies from other countries. Three Iranian startups have already been registered with the Azerbaijan Innovations Agency. This is very good, to begin with. We see Azerbaijan as a strategic partner in the IT field and our goal is to expand the economic cooperation in ICT. Our participation in this exhibition is an indicator of our strategic center.

- According to the information we have, about 40 Iranian startups have applied to the Azerbaijan Innovations Agency. What are the investment cost of these startups and can we expect co-working in this field in the next few years?

- Startup economy differs from the traditional one. This question may be related to traditional economy. The bigger the market, the more startups may appear. There is no limitation for them. Therefore, grounds and conditions here define the number of startups.

As an example, I can say that many people apply to Iran for medical services. They must be rendered services. For instance, they can set up an appointment üith a doctor, ask for the opinion of those who previously contacted the doctor, learn the time of doctor's reception and book a return ticket. All these are grounds for joint cooperation. Transportation of cargo between Iran and Azerbaijan can be another example of cooperation. At the same time, any cooperation in the production of computer games or financial technologies is possible.

- Iran is among the countries frequently visited by Azerbaijani citizens. Moreover, Iranian citizens, too, visit our country. Are there any changes or discussions about roaming tariffs between the two countries, this regard?

- No. Neither Iran nor Azerbaijan have discussed this issue so far. However, it’s possible to discuss this issue.

- As we know, Iranian TV channels air in the frequency of our national channels. We often visit the regions bordering with Iran and see that this is also related to Iran’s mobile operators. Frankly speaking, as a citizen and subscriber, I’m concerned about this situation. As an Iranian official, what is your view on this issue and are there any discussions in this regard?

- We have been dealing with this issue for nearly one year. A joint working group is operating and they have held two meetings in Tehran and two in Baku. The interference in the frequencies seems to have been reduced by 90%. We are considering a 2.5 km-ray in accordance with world standards. We have to control frequencies in this distance. There is a 370 km border between Iran and Azerbaijan, and there are 180 Iranian villages towards the Ardabil province alone. Though the work is complete, and interference in frequencies has been reduced, people living at a distance of 2.5 km still face such problems. The Working Group is constantly working and trying to normalize the situation.  Frequency cannot be told not to cross any point, it is a wave that should be controlled anyway.

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