Huawei restricts business in Iran, no longer seeks new customers

Huawei reportedly signed contract to help mobile operator in Iran track people's locations via cellphones

Huawei Technologies will limit its business activities in Iran and no longer seek new customers there, it said Friday, after an October report said the Chinese company was building a surveillance system in the country to help police track people's locations via their mobile phones.

"Due to the increasingly complex situation in Iran, Huawei will voluntarily restrict its business development there,"

it said in a brief online statement. The move includes limiting its business activities with current customers, although Huawei will continue to provide services to the existing communication networks it was contracted to build.

"Huawei is committed to providing telecommunications functions that are in line with our vision 'to enrich life through communication,'" the statement said. The company said that its business in Iran has been in full compliance with United Nations, U.S and E.U. laws and regulations.

The company's involvement with the building of the surveillance system in Iran was reported in October by The Wall Street Journal. Activists in the country said in interviews they had been arrested shortly after turning on their mobile phones, according to the report. Huawei, a major supplier to Iran's mobile operators, has also sometimes partnered with an Iranian electronics firm that says it serves intelligence and defense ministries in the country.

Huawei, one of the world's largest telecommunications equipment suppliers, has repeatedly been forced to defend its reputation amid other allegations that the company has ties to the Chinese military. Several of Huawei's business activities in the U.S. have been blocked as a result, with a U.S. House Intelligence Committee now set on investigating the company over espionage concerns.

Huawei has said it welcomes any investigation and maintains the company's products do not contain any security threats.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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