Huawei linked to Iran tech sales

Posted by Emma Woollacott

China's Huawei - the world's second largest telecoms firm, but certainly not its most trusted - has been accused of involvement in a plan to sell equipment to Iran.

According to Reuters, Huawei partner Skycom offered to provide $1.7 million of HP equipment to Iran in 2010. Skycom is so closely linked to the company that its staff in Iran share Huawei's offices and wear Huawei badges.

The equipment concerned includes one server, 20 disk arrays and 22 switches, as well as associated software. It's listed in a document that describes a major expansion of the subscriber billing system for Mobile Telecommunication Co of Iran (MCI).

For many years, the US has banned the export of computer equipment to Iran, as part of an effort to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Huawei says the tender document was submitted by Skycom, and denies that it's breaking any embargo.

"Huawei's business in Iran is in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations including those of the UN, US and EU. This commitment has been carried out and followed strictly by our company," it says in a statement.

"Further, we also require our partners to follow the same commitment and strictly abide by the relevant laws and regulations."

Huawei recently came under fire from the US government, which issued a report in October suggesting that the company posed a potential security threat. It's been banned from a major broadband project in Australia, and is under investigation by the EU.

"Based on available classified and unclassified information, Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems," the House Intelligence Committee said in its report.