Iran government blasts move to control foreign investment

TEHERAN - Iran’s embattled reformist government accused hardliners yesterday of seeking to slam the door on foreign investment but admitted it was powerless to stop the proposed legislation.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 21 Sep 2004, 9:26 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 12:51 PM

“The government frankly opposes the bill, but it is obliged to implement any law passed by parliament,” said government spokesman and cabinet secretary Abdollah Ramezanzadeh.

“The proposed bill would paralyse the foreign policy apparatus and those economic apparatuses with dealings abroad,” he added.

Iran’s conservative-controlled parliament is scheduled today to open debate on a bill that would oblige the reformist government to seek the approval of MPs for major deals signed with foreign companies. If passed, the law would be backdated and apply to any contract signed from the beginning of the current Iranian year on March 20, 2004 and where a foreign company has more than a 49-per cent stake.

The bill also singles out contracts related to airport services and telecommunications. This is a direct reference to an airport building and operating contract signed with Tepe-Akfen-Vie (TAV) — an Austrian-Turkish consortium — and a mobile telephone service expansion deal due to be signed with Turkcell, Turkey’s biggest mobile phone operator. In May, Iran’s hardline Revolutionary Guards shut down Tehran’s new airport, arguing the contract with TAV endangered the Islamic republic’s security because the operators also had business dealings with Israel. Hardliners and conservatives took control of the Iranian parliament, or Majlis, after most reformists and moderates loyal to the government of President Mohammad Khatami were barred from standing in the polls.

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