Huawei Confirms MTN Irancell Sales, Denies Censorship Role

Huawei Technologies Co. confirmed it sold telecom equipment and a “mobile news delivery platform” to MTN Irancell Telecommunications Services Co., Iran’s second-largest mobile provider, while denying the gear is used for censorship.

Huawei, China’s largest maker of phone network equipment, doesn’t provide “any services relating to monitoring or filtering technologies and equipment anywhere in the world,” the Shenzhen, China-based company said in a e-mailed statement today.

The company said it issued the statement on Iran in response to “inaccurate and misleading claims” about its “commercial activities” in Iran, without identifying the source of those claims. Both Bloomberg News and the Wall Street Journal published reports last month saying Iranian authorities use technology purchased from foreign companies to monitor dissidents.

“Huawei provides a mobile news delivery platform to MTN Irancell, but we have no involvement in any aspect of the content of the information that is provided on that platform,” the Huawei statement said. “Most importantly, we have absolutely no technology that can be used for news censorship.”

Ross Gan, a spokesman for Huawei, had earlier told Bloomberg News that any equipment the company provides to customers is strictly for commercial use only.

Nokia Siemens Networks, which delivered communications intercept equipment to Iran in 2008, later expressed regret for the sale and noted “credible reports” that the government had used communications technology to suppress dissent, Bloomberg reported Oct. 31. Much of that gear was later swapped out in favor of Huawei equipment, according to Ben Roome, a spokesman for NSN.

— With assistance by Anand Krishnamoorthy, and Edmond Lococo

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