The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Iran’s sell-off goes full circle

Iran’s privatization programme is putting shares in the hands of quasi-state organizations. That’s partly because the domestic private sector is starved of funds and foreign investment is hampered by US sanctions and local restrictions. Mainly, though, it’s because the ruling elite wants to retain control. Angus McDowall reports.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: no desire to understand economics  

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: no desire to understand economics

WHEN HALF THE shares in Iran’s state telecom company were put on sale on September 9, the move was hailed as a great leap forward for the country’s programme of economic liberalization. "This is the biggest government company to be sold so far so it’s very important," says Behrouz Alishiri, head of international affairs at the ministry of finance. "It’s worth about 20% of everything the government has privatized. It will have a huge influence on the market."

With a market capitalization of $9.7 billion, Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI) is the largest company to be listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE). With a monopoly on fixed-line telephone services and ownership of one of the country’s two mobile networks, it is also of vital strategic importance.

By any measure, therefore, the sale of TCI ought to offer proof of the Islamic republic’s commitment to privatization and economic restructuring.

Yet as they gaze up at the Alborz mountains from the executive suites of their new glass office blocks, Tehran’s financial elite are grimly aware that in many cases privatization is simply a cover for the redistribution of assets among other organs of the state.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree