Huawei accused of supplying HP equipment to Iran

One of Huawei's partners appeared to have been setting up proposals for Iranians to buy HP equipment, despite US sanctions that ban the export of computer equipment to Iran.

Huawei has been accused of attempting to supply embargoed Hewlett-Packard equipment to a mobile network operator in Iran in late 2010.

Documents obtained by Reuters reveal an equipment price list bearing Huawei's logos for an "expansion proposal" set up by Iranian telco MCI. Reuters noted that the list requests a server, 20 disk arrays, 22 switches, and software, altogether totalling €1.3 million. It also shows that MCI already had "existing" HP equipment, possibly previously agreed upon or installed, including 22 servers, 8 disk arrays, and 13 switches. Together, the complete price list comes to €19.9 million.

US-imposed sanctions currently prohibit US companies from exporting computer equipment to Iran as a means to deter the country from pursuing its nuclear plans. Iran has repeatedly maintained that its nuclear program is for energy production only.

The proposal is alleged to have been set up by one of Huawei's Hong Kong partners, Skycom Tech. Huawei confirmed to Reuters that Skycom had put together the proposal, but denied that neither it nor Skycom had actually shipped HP products to MCI.

ZTE, another Chinese telecommunications giant, has recently been accused of similar activities designed to overcome US export bans.

ZTE earlier this year found itself as the subject of an investigation by the FBI and an inquiry by the US Department of Commerce, following allegations that it had sold phones containing US-manufactured parts to Iran . ZTE was alleged to have set up a network of sub-companies to illegally export products from Microsoft, HP, Oracle, Dell, Cisco, and Symantec to Iran.

HP's equipment has also appeared on Syrian shopping lists. Last month, news emerged that HP equipment was being sold to Syria without HP's knowledge . In that case, Italian company Area SpA bought up HP equipment from an unnamed HP partner, and then sold the equipment on yet again without informing HP of who the end customer was.

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