Iran does not privatize but nationalize IT sector: expert
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 11 / Trend E.Ostapenko /
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 as in fact this deal equates to the company's nationalization, supposes Director of Research and Development at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) Theodore Karasik.
Recently Etemad Mobin Development which consists of three companies 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. - In fact, it may hinder rapid growth".
According to various media, Etemad Mobin is linked with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Karasik has the same opinion.
IRGC which is also known as the Pasdaran (Persian for "guards") has evolved into an expansive socio-political-economic conglomerate, said Karasik. In the political sphere, many high-ranking officials are former Pasdaran.
As a force in Iranian culture and society, the IRGC controls 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.
IRGC has strong positions in economic sector, as well. According to various sources IRGC controls up to 30 percent of Iranian economy.
According to Karasik, the IRGC controls a wide variety of commercial enterprises, including state contractors and illicit smuggling and black-market enterprises.
"Therefore information control, surveillance, and profit are the key 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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