updated 01:10 am EST, Mon December 31, 2012
Huawei said to have offered 1.3 million euros of embargoed tech
Chinese telecom manufacturer Huawei will likely see increased scrutiny from US regulators, as a report from Reuters found that the company offered to sell at least 1.3 million euros worth of embargoed computer equipment to the largest mobile phone operator in Iran two years ago. The report cites documents in which Huawei and a closely-tied Iranian affiliate proposed providing Mobile Telecommunication Co of Iran (MCI) with Hewlett-Packard servers, disk arrays, and switches. The revelation is the second in as many months that has seen a major Huawei partner in Iran accused of violating technology embargoes.
This new revelation hinges on what Huawei describes as a "billing document" involving one of its Iranian partners, Skycom Tech Co LTD. Skycom submitted to MCI a document outlining the cost of multiple embargoed technologies. These would be used to double the capacity of MCI's billing system for prepaid customers, making it capable of handling 20 million prepaid customers.
Reuters' examination of the documents and Skycom revealed very close ties between the company and Huawei. The documents Skycom submitted bore the stamp "HUAWEI Confidential," and Skycom employees are said by observers to wear Huawei badges when in Skycom's office in Tehran.
The equipment in question is embargoed as part of a larger ban on certain technologies being sold to Iran. Officials in the United States believe Iran is in the process of developing a nuclear weapon, and the embargoes are aimed at keeping Iran from doing so. Iran maintains that its nuclear program is a civilian one aimed only at producing domestic energy.
Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese telecom firm, have been under intense scrutiny from US and other regulators over the past year, due in part to their dealings with Iran, as well as their reportedly close ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Earlier this year, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee reported that Huawei and ZTE constituted a security risk due to their ties to China's government. A White House Report in October found that Huawei was dangerous, but not spying. Huawei's business in the United States has been negatively affected by regulatory scrutiny, but the company maintains that the pressure will not affect its overseas business.