Iran does not privatize but nationalize IT sector: expert
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 11 / Trend E.Ostapenko /
"The Etemad Mobin Consortium's buying a controlling stake in the state-owned Iranian Telecommunications Company (TCI) may slow down the development of the country's IT sector," said Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis Research and Development Director Theodore Karasik. "Because in fact this deal equates to the company's nationalization."
Recently, Etemad Mobin Development purchased 50 percent plus one share of the state-owned TCI for $7.8 billion. The move was the biggest deal in the Iranian stock market's history - and an equivalent of 10 percent of all the stock transactions in the country.
"This is not really privatization but nationalization and is part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' growing influence over many sectors of the economy," Karasik wrote Trend in an e-mail today. "In fact, it may hinder rapid growth."
According to various media, Etemad Mobin is linked with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Karasik has the same opinion.
As a force in Iranian culture and society, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps control media outlets and conducts training and educational programs designed not only to bolster loyalty to the regime and train citizens in homeland defense, but also to improve its own institutional credibility, Karasik said. He previously worked as a senior political scientist in the International Policy and Security Group at the RAND Corporation.
According to Karasik, the IRGC controls a wide variety of commercial enterprises, including state contractors and illicit smuggling and black-market enterprises.
Therefore, informational control, surveillance and profit are major motives for purchasing a controlling stake in the TCI especially since the June 2009 elections, he said.
U.Sadikhova contributed to this article.
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