ZTE: Local issues, 'complicated relationship' behind Iran biz restriction

update ZTE attributes local issues with Iran and "complicated relationship" with international community, as its reasons for reducing business expansion in Iran, report states.
Written by Ellyne Phneah, Contributor

ZTE elaborates that reason behind decision to restrict Iran dealings was due to "local issues" and the country's "complicated relationship" internationally.

The Shenzhen-based company said in a statement dated yesterday that it had provided "standard communications and network solutions" to Iran on a small scale. However, due to local issues in Iran and its "complicated relationship" with the international community, it has "restricted" its business practices in the country since last year.

"ZTE no longer seeks new customer in Iran and limits business activities with existing customers," the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker said.

This follows a report last week that ZTE allegedly sold the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) a surveillance system to monitor landline, mobile and Internet communications.

A China-based spokesperson from ZTE then told ZDNet Asia that they will be restricting business development in Iran, but maintained that "the specifics of this process were currently under review and the details are still being finalized".

Last year, India's Department of Telecom (DOT) had cautioned state-owned operator BSNL against choosing Chinese providers ZTE and Huawei for its 5 billion rupees (US$1.03 billion) contract for 15 million GSM lines. United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), an independent agency had also urged Huawei to end its business in Iran, alleging that it provided cellular and electronic technology to Iran for conducting surveillance on its citizens.

While Huawei had felt pressure from the U.S. and Indian government, it maintained that it was strengthening its presence in the Middle East, as it was one of the fastest growing mobile markets in the world.

However, when contacted, Huawei reiterated a December statement that it will "restrict" business expansion in Iran due to the "increasingly complex situation" in the country.

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