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Jewish Journal

Shame on multi-national corporations working with Iran!

by Karmel Melamed

February 5, 2013 | 5:31 am

The international community has long been aware of Iran’s notorious nuclear weapons program and U.S. and E.U. sanctions have hit the current totalitarian Islamic regime in Iran hard. Yet at the same time, the media worldwide has forgotten the equally horrendous human rights violations the Iranian regime commits every year in large scale by torturing, imprisoning and executing political dissidents, children, women, homosexuals, union organizers, journalists and anyone else they believe is a threat to their power. On a daily basis the Iranian regime broadcasts proudly their hangings of supposed “drug offenders” or “enemies of the state”, but no one pays attention. Nevertheless, what is even more disturbing is the fact that despite the tremendous sanctions on Iran and the regime’s abhorrent human rights record, dozens of multi-national corporations still continue to do business in Iran and with the leaders of the regime! Their decisions to continue having business dealings with the butchers and murders of innocent human beings in Iran are revolting and it is sad that they continue to keep this notorious regime in power by aiding it financially or with new technology.


The following is a list of just a few of the most serious corporate collaborators with the Iranian regime that need to be shamed into stopping their business dealings with Iran…

 

MTN Group is a South African telecommunications company. It is a 49% shareholder of “MTN Irancell”, the second largest mobile phone network operator in Iran. The majority of 51% of the company is in turn owned by the Iranian regime, which has exploited the MTN Irancell network and technology to monitor and track the activities and communications of peaceful dissidents in Iran.

Ericsson is also a telecommunications corporation. It provided a mobile-positioning center to Iran in 2009 that is used to track cellphone users. Ericsson continues to maintain the center but in October 2010 stated it would no longer sell any products in Iran due to tightening sanctions. However, new reports show that Ericsson plans to extend its network in Iran and has pledged to support MTN Irancell until 2021.

Nissan and Renault are both automakers from Japan and France. They have strategically partnered through the Renault-Nissan Alliance and both companies are highly active in the Iranian auto industry, which is dominated by the Iranian regime and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC).  In 2011, Renault’s production doubled to more than 100,000 vehicles produced and it is now seen as the “winner” of Peugeot’s reported exit from Iran.

Peugeot is a France based automaker and the leading foreign auto brand produced and sold in Iran. It has partnered with the Iran Khodro Group, which is controlled by the Iranian regime. Sadly the U.S. automaker General Motors (GM) may be in violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran because of its new partnership with Peugeot. GM should use its influence and leverage to compel Peugeot to immediately end its business in Iran.

Volvo Group is an automaker based in Sweden and its subsidiaries Volvo Trucks and Renault Trucks are partnered in Iran with the regime’s corporate entities. Evidence of the regime’s misuse of Volvo equipment and technology by Iranian military and security forces has been widely documented. Volvo Construction Equipment is also active in Iran as well as Volvo Penta, whose marine diesel engines are used in IRGC naval vessels.

Herrenknecht, a German manufacturer of tunnel-boring machines. The company lists two sales and service offices in Tehran. A 2010 New York Times report highlighted Iran’s abuse of civilian tunnel-boring machines to shield and obscure its nuclear weapons program and pointed to Herrenknecht as a key supplier to Iran of such equipment.

Aker Wirth is a German manufacturer of boring equipment as well. It currently operates in Iran through the WPS Group and has previously sold tunnel-boring equipment to Iran for a water project that was managed by the IRGC.

Seli is an Italian construction equipment manufacturer. It has worked on several Iranian tunnel projects with sanctioned IRGC entities, such as Ghaem and Sahel Consulting Engineers.

ZTE is a Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer. As part of a $130.6 million contract signed in December 2010, ZTE sold an advanced surveillance system to the IRGC-owned Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) that enables the Iranian regime to monitor the voice, text messaging and internet communications of its citizens. While ZTE has announced it is no longer seeking new customers in the country, it has not stopped its operations in Iran.

Huawei is a Chinese based telecommunications equipment manufacturer. Its technology has been used by the Iranian regime to conduct surveillance on its citizens, and track down human rights activists and dissidents. Huawei announced that it would stop seeking new business in Iran and limit existing business, yet it has not fully pulled out from doing business in Iran.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Karmel Melamed is an internationally-published freelance journalist based in Southern California.

Since 2000, Melamed has specialized in covering the growing influential...

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