Monday, June 20, 2005

Iran Stocks Fall; Concern With Presidency Candidate Ahmadinejad

Iranian stocks, which have risen 145 percent since January 2003, fell today on concerns former Tehran mayor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may be elected president of the nation with the world's No. 2 oil and gas reserves.

Ahmadinejad, 49, who wasn't among the leading candidates in pre-election polls, will face former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani in a final round of voting this Friday, June 24. The first round, with seven candidates, occurred June 17.

Ahmadinejad stands ``for basically everything investors fear,'' said Albrecht Frischenschlager, a partner at Tehran- based Atieh Bahar consulting, who advises companies such as British-American Tobacco Plc and Rolls-Royce Group Plc. ``People are obviously getting a bit worried because of the (first-round) result,'' he said in a telephone interview.

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