China’s ZTE planned to sell embargoed U.S. computer to Iran.
Three other telecommunications equipment makers – Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks and China-based Huawei Technologies – previously have said they would reduce their business in Iran. Huawei and ZTE have emerged as the largest equipment suppliers to Iran, according to people involved with the country’s telecom industry.
The parts list for the June 2011 contract was much more dominated by U.S. products than the earlier equipment contract. The earlier pact was between TCI, ZTE and a Chinese trading company called Beijing 8-Star International Co. The latest contract was between ZTE, Beijing 8-Star and an Iranian company called Aryacell.
Aryacell is a unit of Iran Mobin Electronic Development Co., part of a consortium that controls TCI. According to the contract, Beijing 8-Star was required to provide “third-party equipments,” while ZTE was responsible for supplying equipment and collecting payment. The contract was to last until December 31, 2015.
Officials at Aryacell and TCI did not respond to requests for comment. A representative of Beijing 8-Star, reached in China, declined to answer questions, saying: “Concerning my business matters, it’s not necessary for me to tell you anything.”
The contract’s parts list included products made by manufacturers from several countries. But most were from the U.S., with IBM items accounting for the bulk of them. The IBM parts included 30 servers and other computer equipment with a total cost of more than 6.8 million euros, minus about a 30 percent discount.
Several of the IBM server models, though new, were discontinued shortly before the contract was signed. It called for a 12-month warranty on all equipment.
It is not clear how ZTE will get out of the contract. According to the terms, the contract only can be terminated if Aryacell breaches it, becomes bankrupt or can’t pay its debts.