MTN could struggle to get R3 billion out Iran thanks to Trump

MTN Group says that the USA’s decision to withdraw from a joint-agreement with Iran will limit its ability to repatriate over R3 billion that is still owed to it.

On 8 May 2018 the US announced its decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement and to re-impose economic sanctions against Iran.

Under the terms of the 2015 agreement, sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, European Union and United Nations would be lifted in return for the country agreeing to long-term curbs on a nuclear programme that western nations believed was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

However, US president Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he was not having it, calling the agreement a ‘rotten deal’ and saying instead that stronger restrictions on Iran were needed.

“We cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement,” he said. “We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction and we will not allow a regime that chants ‘Death to America’ to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth.”

According to MTN, the planned sanctions may “limit the ability of MTN Group to repatriate cash, both dividends and loans, from MTN Irancell”.

“We will continue to monitor the situation including the response of the Iranian authorities and the other JCPOA members,” it said.

During 2018 MTN Group has repatriated approximately €88 million (R1.3 billion) from MTN Irancell including €61 million (R915 million) relating to the full 2017 dividend due to MTN as well as a further €27 million (R400 million) of historic dividends. The remaining balance due to MTN is approximately IRR10,000 billion (approximately €200 million or R3 billion).

MTN said it remains committed to our investment in Irancell and to repatriating the balance of legacy cash in Iran whilst remaining compliant with appropriate legislation.


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MTN could struggle to get R3 billion out Iran thanks to Trump