Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Politics
Economics

Startups Surge as Iranian Tech Finds Silver Lining to Sanctions

The openness championed by President Hassan Rouhani, a regular on social media, in a country where the web is still heavily policed and the spread of high-speed mobile services have bolstered technology companies. Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

The openness championed by President Hassan Rouhani, a regular on social media, in a country where the web is still heavily policed and the spread of high-speed mobile services have bolstered technology companies. Photographer: Atta Kenare/AFP via Getty Images

Updated on

The group of men and women in their twenties sat in a frog-green office on orange chairs as they debated marketing strategies, occasionally breaking to tap on Mac computers or play a game of ping-pong.

The meeting of tech-savvy startup entrepreneurs wouldn’t have been out of place in any wired, developed-world city. But this was Tehran, the capital of an Islamic theocracy better known for state-directed heavy industry struggling under the weight of international sanctions.