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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Siemens selling Iran sophisticated data surveillance systems

The JPost reports that Siemens, the German electronics giant, has sold sophisticated data surveillance systems to the Ahmadinejad government in Iran. Such sales would violate US sanctions against Iran. The report is based on a radio broadcast by an Austrian investigative reporter.
Speaking from Vienna, journalist Erich Moechel told The Jerusalem Post that he was "99 percent certain" that "Monitoring Centers," used to track mobile and land-line phone conversations, had been sent to Iran. These systems could enable the Iranian intelligence service to document conversations between Israel and Iran and "build a communication profile."

According to Moechel, the technology can show "how many telephone conversations over the last 10 years between Israel and Iran" took place, as well as the locations of the communications.

Moechel, a specialist in the field of data protection and surveillance, said that he was highly certain that the Iranian regime had purchased German-designed "Intelligence Platform" systems, which allow the Iranian secret service to monitor "financial transactions and traffic and airplane movements."

The Intelligence Platform would enable the Islamic Republic to amass complex databases showing, for example, the activities of international companies in Iran that also conduct business with Israel and other countries.

When questioned about the delivery of intelligence equipment, Wolfram Trost, a Siemens spokesman, declined to confirm the sale of the Monitoring Centers and Intelligence Platforms to Iran. Trost said Siemens "adheres to the European Union, United Nations and German guidelines" covering restricted trade with Iran.

The sale of "dual-use goods" - which can be applied for military usage and a nuclear weapons program - to Iran is unlawful under EU and UN sanctions as well as German export control regulations.

Trost referred the matter to Siemens's joint partner in the Iranian deal, Nokia Siemens Network.

Telephone calls seeking a comment from the Nokia Siemens Network in Espoo, the Finnish telecommunications partner, were not returned.
Siemens and Nokia have extensive sales in Israel. I don't have statistics to back this up, but I would guess that Nokia sells more cellular phones here than any other company.
Moechel wrote in his article that the integrated intelligence devices were used against persecuted minority groups and political dissidents in Iran. He cited German and Austrian privacy experts who noted that these types of machines would not be lawful within the EU.

The public prosecutor in Munich told the Post that Siemens was the subject of an ongoing bribery scandal investigation. The company has acknowledged that it spent €19 million to bribe Iranian officials in January.
Yet another of the 5734 reasons why 'sanctions' against Iran are useless.


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