back to article ZTE winds down Iran biz after espionage claims

Chinese handset giant ZTE has been forced to clarify that it’s no longer touting for new business in Iran, but remained vague about allegations that it sold the country’s largest telecoms firm a nationwide internet and phone surveillance system. Shenzhen-headquartered ZTE sold the state-run Telecommunication Co. of Iran (TCI) …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trade Restrictions

    I've been to a computer trade fare in Iran (just over a decade ago) and, despite US embargoes on computing equipment, you could buy servers and mostly any commercial off the shelf product you wanted. They come from various countries in the middle east and are slightly overpriced but not greatly. These trade restrictions don't work well and just harm small business, not the government. You can buy pirated software from stores - Iran has a interesting view on Copyright.

    What is working is the recent move against Iran's banks. It's hard to pay for things, so exporters are finding it hard to do business.

    ZTE will sell the kit to some unknown Chinese company who'll then provide it to Iran... if they can work out a way of getting paid. Gold bars look cool but are damn inconvenient to deal with.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    China is a law unto themselves, they do what they want and support their own firms. Unlike the UK where we do what we are told.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But China was in ILETS at the start

    ILETS international law enforcement (=spooks!) technical seminar (=standards body!) who defined the seed documents to get ETSI/ITU to develop the lawful interception handover interface which is installed by law (CALEA) and is currently intercepting everything, everywhere, in all modern telecomm systems. fait accompli.

    China was in at the start, according to Duncan Campbell in the European Parliament STOA reports on Surveillance technologies. Google ILETS, (if they haven't censored themselves out of the interwebs yet!)

    No story here, move along please. (Iran is not nice place to be a journalist or activist by-the-way read CPJ )

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      To paraphrase the Sundance Kid:

      You sure you used enough acronyms there, Butch?

  4. JaitcH

    Perhaps the spy accessories are slowing the network

    The US National Security Agency has, allegedly, monitoring software on many cell systems worlld-wide. They were caught with their pants down in Greece a few years ago when one system, favoured by government ministers including those of the Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, were found to have non-standard software. It "conference called" phone calls to 14 prepaid mobile phones where the calls were recorded. See: < > for all the untrigue.

    There was also the matter of uusual antennae observed from a passing helicopters in their embassy grounds which is in midtown near the Hilton Hotel and the famous glass statue of The Runner in the middle of a traffic circle.

    So perhaps the NSA was protecting it's turf when the heat was turned up on ZTE for getting in to it's line of business. What with all the drones flying around and Israeli agents terminating nuclear researchers it's getting sort of crowded in Tehran.


    Vodafone, Greece, Costas Tsalikidis, and UK

    Vodafone Greece Network Planning Manager, Costas Tsalikidis, was found hanged shortly after the story you refer to;

    And Vodafone in the UK are up to something similar using US spyware supplied by Bluecoat;

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abide by local law

    There is nothing illegal about selling US software in Iran ... under Iranian law. Sure, it's illegal to buy the software in the US with the intent to sell/use it in Iran, but if you are already in Iran then you are not subject to US law.

    Notice how ZTE didn't deny selling the software, they just said they abided by local law. Convenient wot?

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