Iran Economy in Brief – No. 62

Universities in Iran

In the past 25 years, the number of university students in Iran has been 19-folded, reaching 4.8 million in 2016, from 78 million population. The population was only 1.6-folded during this period. Female attendance at universities increased 3000%, to make almost half of students in 2016, according to Centre of Statistics of Iran.

Not only the number of public universities grew very fast, but also private universities were established in Iran. In 1982, Ayatolah Rafsanjani, the former president of Iran, established Islamic Azad University (IAU).

IAU soon opened several branches all over the country and even beyond, in England, UEA, Lebanon and Afghanistan. Today with 1.7 million students, it is world’s largest private university by enrollment.

Lesen Sie unsere Geschichte über das Studentenleben in Tehran auf F.A.Z. website.

 Self-sufficiency in MDF production by 2020

During the inauguration of two new wood processing plants in Gilan Province, Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade, Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, said: “The Government is ready to support the Populus Trees planting in Northern Provinces of the country, where the land is suitable”.

Mr Nematzadeh predicts the self-sufficiency in production of MDF by 2020 when the projects under construction will come on stream: “By completing the partly finished plants, the production capacity of MDF in the country will reach 2.5 million cubic-meter, which is equivalent to the industrial need”.

Two new wood production facilities in the Northern Province of Gilan were inaugurated last week. Arian Takhte and Arian Maryam production capacities are 250 thousand and 200 thousand cubic-meter, respectively. The overall investment was worth 4500 billion IRR ($139m) provided by the private sector. The two manufacturers have created 600 new jobs.

Nationwide coverage of 3G Internet

Telecommunications Infrastructure Company of Iran (TIC), a state-owned company, announced that by June 2017, all counties will be covered by 3G internet service.

More than 60 percent of the cities will also be covered by 4G internet service. However, the CEO of TIC, Mohammad Javad Azar-Jahromi, sees an obstacle in the fast development of 4G services: “To use 4G internet services, clients must own compatible devices. Since many still do not have such devices, the operators are slow in providing 4G coverage in some areas”.

As a very recent plan, some operators are offering new smartphones or tablets through a plan. This will improve the availability of 4G compatible devices.

Mr. Azar-Jahromi also notes the increase by 10000 Km in land based optical fiber connections over the past four years, adding: “connecting more cities by fiber optics and increasing the internet speed was one of the priorities for the Government. In June 2013, the length of optical fiber network was 50 thousand kilometers. Today it is 60 thousand kilometers”.

Khuzestan households will not pay the electricity bill

President Rouhani, in a letter has exempted the households of Khuzestan Province of paying their electricity bills for the month of Bahman 1395 (20 January-18 February 2017), confirms the governor of Khuzestan Province, in south-west of Iran.

In this period, Khuzestan region was hit by an extreme dust storm which caused five power plants to shut down. In Ahvaz, the capital city of the province, schools and offices were closed for some days.

Due to all these circumstances, the residences are being exempted to pay their electricity bills for a month.

Khuzestan struggles with dust storm since a decade ago and some time the density of dust reaches nearly 70-times that of the normal standard.

Read more about Sand Storm in Khuzestan