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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Turkcell's Iran Deal at Risk

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Mobile phone service provider Turkcell said Monday a law reducing the foreign share in an Iranian GSM network had increased the risks in a deal that promised to be Iran's largest foreign investment in decades.

Lawmakers passed legislation Sunday lowering to 49 percent the nearly 70 percent stake a Turkcell-led consortium had won in last year's tender. Conservative lawmakers sought to increase Iran's stake to 51 percent from 30 percent, accusing Turkcell of links to Israel.

Turkcell said in a statement to the Istanbul and New York stock exchanges that it would await a final decision on Irancell. Iran's Guardian Council must still rule on whether the law conforms to the country's Islamic constitution.

"Although the approval process in the Iranian parliament is still continuing, the suggested developments increase the risks associated with the Irancell license agreement process," Turkcell said.

The deal had initially been seen as worth $3 billion. Turkcell had already warned in January that any move to lower its stake could endanger the deal.

The vote means that South Africa's MTN, runner-up to Turkcell in the tender, could replace it as foreign partner in the venture. MTN said Sunday it was ready to take the 49 percent if Turkcell bowed out.