'German firm helps Iran monitor Israel'

Siemens likely delivered advanced data surveillance systems to Teheran, Austrian journalist says.

siemens 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
siemens 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
The Munich-based energy and electrical giant Siemens has with "high likelihood" delivered sophisticated data surveillance systems to Iran, an Austrian investigative journalist disclosed in a public broadcast ORF report on Monday. Speaking from Vienna, journalist Erich Moechel told The Jerusalem Post that he was "99 percent certain" that "Monitoring Centers," used to track mobile and land-line phone conversations, had been sent to Iran. These systems could enable the Iranian intelligence service to document conversations between Israel and Iran and "build a communication profile." According to Moechel, the technology can show "how many telephone conversations over the last 10 years between Israel and Iran" took place, as well as the locations of the communications. Moechel, a specialist in the field of data protection and surveillance, said that he was highly certain that the Iranian regime had purchased German-designed "Intelligence Platform" systems, which allow the Iranian secret service to monitor "financial transactions and traffic and airplane movements." The Intelligence Platform would enable the Islamic Republic to amass complex databases showing, for example, the activities of international companies in Iran that also conduct business with Israel and other countries. When questioned about the delivery of intelligence equipment, Wolfram Trost, a Siemens spokesman, declined to confirm the sale of the Monitoring Centers and Intelligence Platforms to Iran. Trost said Siemens "adheres to the European Union, United Nations and German guidelines" covering restricted trade with Iran. The sale of "dual-use goods" - which can be applied for military usage and a nuclear weapons program - to Iran is unlawful under EU and UN sanctions as well as German export control regulations. Trost referred the matter to Siemens's joint partner in the Iranian deal, Nokia Siemens Network. Telephone calls seeking a comment from the Nokia Siemens Network in Espoo, the Finnish telecommunications partner, were not returned. Moechel wrote in his article that the integrated intelligence devices were used against persecuted minority groups and political dissidents in Iran. He cited German and Austrian privacy experts who noted that these types of machines would not be lawful within the EU. The public prosecutor in Munich told the Post that Siemens was the subject of an ongoing bribery scandal investigation. The company has acknowledged that it spent €19 million to bribe Iranian officials in January. Siemens, which conducts an over-$500-million trade relationship with Iran, provides vital engineering and technological equipment for Iran's infrastructure. American and Israeli critics have urged Siemens to sever its business ties with Iran.