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Turning the tables on Turkey

BAT: a flagship investor | Iran's business future fettered by politics

TAV fails to fly

Turkish-led consortium Tepe-Akfen-Vie (TAV) invested $15 million on a goodwill basis in building Tehran's new Imam Khomeini International Airport in the expectation that it would then be able to take a major part in running it. However, the firm only ever signed a memorandum of understanding, and has had its plans shattered by opposition to the deal from elements of the Iranian regime. The first blow came in May 2004, when the Revolutionary Guards rolled tanks on to the runway and closed down the airport on its opening day. Railing against TAV, nationalist members of parliament argued that the investment was a threat to national security and that the company had links to Israel.

The second blow came in September 2004, when MPs proposed legislation empowering themselves to block foreign investment deals by requiring the government to get parliamentary permits before signing deals with foreign companies. The legislation was eventually amended to give parliament the right to scrutinize just the TAV deal and the Turkcell mobile phone deal.

The knock-out blow to TAV's hopes that it would find some way to salvage its 11-year concession to manage the airport came on April 5, when transport minister Mohammad Rahmati announced that when the airport reopened at the end of the month, an Iranian company would take responsibility for handling services.

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