Iran News ...


09/29/09

After Establishing a Bank, Iran's Revolutionary Guards Purchase Telecom Company

Report by Rooz Online

Last week, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, chief of the Islamic Passdaran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) noted that the IRGC does not face "many competitors or troublemakers" against its economic activities, adding that "the IRGC has never been rogue in entering an area not related to its revolutionary duties."  Yesterday, Iran's news agencies reported that the IRGC had purchased a 51 percent share in the Iranian Telecommunications Company.  According to these news agencies, the Etemad-e Mobin consortium, affiliated with the IRGC, defeated the bid of its competitor Mehr-e Eghtesad-e Iranian, affiliated with the Basij, and purchased 50 percent plus one share of the Iranian Telecommunications Company in less than a half hour in what amounted to be largest deal ever in the Iranian stock market.  

According to news reports published by the Iranian securities exchange commission, "minutes before the unprecedented deal Pishgaman-e Yazd consortium, which was one of he three main bidders for purchasing the Iranian Telecommunication Company's shares, removed its bid and left the bidding to two remaining competitors."  

In the end, it was the consortium associated with the supreme leader that purchased 50 percent plus one shares of the Iranian Telecommunications Company for the total purchase price of about 8 billion dollars.  Securities experts and analysts, however, believe that the Basij consortium had entered the bidding deliberately and in order to push the third party out of the bidding process.

The unprecedented deal is in line with IRGC's trend of expanding its ownership in the economy, the latest instance of which was revealed last week.

Last Wednesday, the governor of Iran's central bank announced, "the monetary and credit committee has approved the bylaws of the Ansar Foundation for transition to becoming a bank, and this bank affiliated with the IRGC will begin operating soon."  

The Ansar Foundation initially began operating as a non-profit credit union, but turned into an investment bank with the coming to power of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and is now transitioning into becoming a bank as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad starts his second term in office.

Another investment firm, Mehr, affiliated with the IRGC's Basij division, earlier announced plans to enter the country's monetary and banking system and compete with private and public Iranian banks.

In recent years, economic experts have continually criticized the military's intervention in privatization and implementation of Article 44 of the constitution, claiming that large economic projects are turned over to the IRGC instead of the private sector.

... Payvand News - 09/29/09 ... --



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