Germany facilitates repression of Iran’s opposition


Published on the website of German TV channel ZDF/program “Frontal 21” on January 26 2010
This is a preview of a program to be broadcasted on January 26, 9 p.m.
source (German),1872,8018005,00.html

Nokia Siemens delivered telephone systems with surveillance technology

Picture: imago (M)

by Joachim Bartz and Reinhard Laska

Iranian security organs use German technology to control dissidents. Opposition supporters in Iran more and more often get arrested and find out they were systematically spied upon. According to inquest conducted by of Frontal21, Iranian police during interrogations confronts them with eavesdropped phone conversations and intercepted SMS messages that are used as “evidence”.

The company Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) in the years 2007 and 2008 provided Iran with telephone systems that are equipped with surveillance technology, the so-called Monitoring Center. With this technology, conversations can be recorded, SMS messages can be intercepted and locations of mobile phones identified.

Surveillance of international calls
According to information available to Frontal21, international phone calls can also be eavesdropped by the Nokia Siemens Monotoring Center. Although the Finnish-German Joint Venture had admitted to have exported the technology, it claimed, however, that only domestic calls could be monitored. The company is also responsible for maintenance and further operation of the supplied surveillance technology.

Joe Kaeser, member of the Siemens management board, explained to Frontal21 that this business is legally impeccable: “Today we have no reason to assume that NSN has violated the law or the rules”.

Embargo for surveillance systems
In contrast, the human rights commissioner of the Federal Government, Günter Nooke (CDU(Christian-Democratic Party) demanded to include surveillance systems in embargo lists and not deliver them to Iran anymore. Nooke called on Siemens to not continue the maintenance of the technology delivered to Iran. “The point is” says Nooke “that even private companies like Siemens should demonstrate that they do not side with the oppressors, but with the democratic opposition”.

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