AIC's Emad Kiyaei spoke with branding expert Brian Rashid about the tech scene in Iran. The full video can be viewed above or on YouTube at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ67pzCz_Fd6O5M2etnOOZw/videos
Some highlights of the conversation are below:
On Iran's openness to external entrepreneurship in the country:
"Iran is very supportive of this. Now, is it easy to get into Iran? No, because of all of the regulations, especially for the Americans. The rest of the world has removed their sanctions to a large extent. I was recently in Iran and we couldn’t even stay in a hotel because there are so many delegations from Europe and Asia trying to get into literally the last frontier in an emerging market. So, whereas every other market has been saturated, Iran has a population of 80 million, a vast economy, with a huge market... wouldn’t you want to get into it? I would! If you are an entrepreneur you will have a bigger appetite for risk and if your product or service has a nuanced place in the Iranian market, there are ways to get in. Now, let me put in a little caveat. There are U.S. sanctions still in place on Iran so you have to be very careful. I am not saying just jump into the Iranian market. There are exemptions to the rules, and those can be identified. But as my lawyer would tell me right now, please consult your lawyer before you make any other moves."
On improving relations between the US and Iran:
"I am saying this from the bottom of my heart: I have been working on U.S.-Iran relations for many years, and to see this relationship be so poisoned by the rhetoric from both capitals... and this new administration, which may not necessarily be helping the cause of peace… I think there is even a greater responsibility on us as citizens, as people of good will to look beyond this facade that is being painted of one another, and break through that to see the reality. I even encourage [more individual travel].
Well.. for Iranians to come to the United States, it has become a little bit more tricky since the travel ban of President Trump, but the Iranians have not reciprocated in a similar way, so there is still an opportunity for Americans to visit Iran. And for that I will also encourage listeners, viewers, and others… I will encourage you to go to Iran and experience it for yourself. I have sent many delegations to Iran and every single one of them without an exception, including my colleagues at the American Iranian Council who are not Iranians, have come back astounded at the level of hospitality and sheer pleasure for them to meet the Iranians and the Iranians to meet them and say why are we even in this debacle in the first place? Long history… a laundry list of issues, but I think it is this generation that has to change it."