Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Iran News - Turkcell deal in Iran subject to fresh revision

Iran News - Turkcell deal in Iran subject to fresh revision: "Turkcell deal in Iran subject to fresh revision

Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - ©2005 IranMania.com

LONDON, March 8 (IranMania) - A hardline Iranian political watchdog has ruled that the armed forces should have a say over the security aspects of a major telecoms contract with Turkish firm Turkcell, an official was quoted as saying Monday.

The decision was made as the Guardians Council was examining legislation passed by the conservative-controlled parliament to reduce Turkcell's stake in a second national mobile telephone network from 70% to a minority 49%.

Hardline deputies had argued that having a telephone network run by a foreign company was contrary to national security, and could result in phone tapping or suspension of the service.

But according to MP Ramezanali Sadeghzadeh, the Guardians Council decided that security provisions within the new legislation did not go far enough.

Deputies had decided that security issues related to the Turkcell deal be examination by the intelligence ministry, with the final say resting with the Supreme National Security Council - Iran's top security watchdog.

"The Guardians Council said that it is not sufficient since the armed forces are excluded" from giving their recommendations, said Sadeghzadeh, who heads the parliamentary telecommunications commission.

Turkcell was awarded the contract in February 2004 subject to the payment of a €300 mln ($366 mln) licence fee.

But parliament voted in September 2004 to give itself the power to revise the contract under a bill that also targeted a $200 mln contract with Turkish-Austrian consortium Tepe-Akfen-Vie (TAV) at Tehran's new airport.

The moves have badly hit relations with Turkey, and Iran's reformist government has accused MPs of being bad for foreign investment.

It remains uncertain whether Turkcell will accept the revisions to the contract."

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