Iran's House clears airline part-selloff

TEHERAN - Iran's conservative-dominated parliament has agreed to privatise 49 per cent of the country's national carrier Iran Air, Teheran newspapers reported yesterday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Wed 18 Aug 2004, 9:36 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 11:45 AM

The government will retain a 51 per cent stake in the airline in order to "prevent the private sector from taking over the majority," the reports added. Parliament also approved the flotation in its entirety of Iran Air Tours (IAT), an Iran Air subsidiary that handles around 30 per cent of domestic flights.

The MPs' decision has yet to be approved by the Guardians' Council, an unelected conservative-controlled watchdog which has powers to vet all legislation.

Economic liberalisation measures taken by reformist MPs, especially in the oil and banking sectors, have recently come under attack from the new conservative majlis which began its mandate in May. Reformists say that Iran's state-run economy is in dire need of foreign investment.

Shares in Iran Air will not be easy to sell, as the company is thought to have suffered losses of some 122 million dollars (100 million euros) from 2002 to 2003 and private investors are reluctant to invest in a company while the government retains majority control.

Iran Air is also known to have a dilapidated fleet, as the airline has been hit by US-imposed sanctions.

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