Irancell signed the long-anticipated licence to develop Iran’s second GSM network in early September, and the consortium agreed an internal deadline of 21 November to complete the deal. Under new terms forced by the Majlis (parliament) and Guardian Council earlier this year, Turkcell must relinquish at least 21 per cent of its shares in Irancell, giving it 49 per cent. Who should pick up the 21 per cent stake is dividing the partners, with local companies insisting it belongs to the government and Irancell demanding it passes to the local private sector.

There is also confusion about the Eur 300 million ($367 million) licence fee. Mahmoudzadeh said Turkcell must leave for ‘failing to deposit money and give the necessary guarantees’. Turkcell responded in a statement that it had fulfilled all its obligations.

Masoum Fardis, the official responsible for the project at the Information & Communications Technology Ministry, told MEED that no payment had been received and Irancell’s composition was a matter for the consortium. ‘The ministry has issued the licence. We have some rules and regulations and it is up to the consortium to meet those,’ he said.