MTN may struggle to secure Iran funds amid fresh US sanctions

MTN [JSE:MTN] said efforts to repatriate about €200m (almost R3bn) from its Iranian unit will become tougher after US President Donald Trump reinstated economic sanctions on the Islamic republic.

The mobile operator had more than $1bn (R12.6bn) stuck in Iran due to US-led sanctions that ended early last year. Since that landmark agreement intended to curb the country’s nuclear programme, the Johannesburg-based company has been steadily withdrawing the funds.

“We will continue to monitor the situation including the response of the Iranian authorities,” MTN said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company has repatriated €88m to date in 2018. In March, the wireless operator said it expected the last of the cash would be received by September.

Iran is MTN’s second-largest market with 43 million customers at the end of 2017. It has operated in the country since 2005.

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