Pintapin employees work at the e-booking site's offices in the Iranian capital Tehran on July 9, 2017. AFP / ATTA KENARE
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Low on cash but high on hope, Iran's technology entrepreneurs are learning to live with revived hostility in the United States and growing suspicion – or worse – from hard-liners at home.Some are even drawing foreign investment in a way that Iran's dominant oil industry has yet to achieve since most international sanctions were lifted early last year under a nuclear deal with world powers. On top of this, Google and Apple have withdrawn some services temporarily or indefinitely for Iranian users in recent months for reasons including the U.S. sanctions.Ramin Rabii, chief executive of Turquoise Partners, which facilitates foreign investment in Iran, said Trump's rhetoric could paradoxically help the tech sector.No figures are available on foreign investment in Iranian tech firms.Reza Arbabian left Canada, where he went as a teenager, to join his family textile business in Iran. But in 2012 he launched Sheypoor, the Iranian answer to Craigslist, a U.S. classified advertisements website. Iran, a country of 80 million people, had only 2 million smartphone users three years ago but the number hit 40 million in 2016 .This was unavailable in Iran on a number of occasions in June and July, disrupting startups including taxi hailing apps, he said.
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