A Brocade spokesman said the company doesn’t sell any products to Iran “and we certainly have not shipped these products to” ZTE. A spokesman for Greenplum, the EMC unit, said: “We have no knowledge of the contract described, but are actively researching this matter.” A Cisco spokesman said: “We continue to investigate this matter, as any violation of U.S. export controls is a very serious matter.”
According to the U.S. Treasury Dept., a U.S. company would violate sanctions if it shipped products requiring an export license to a third party knowing the goods would end up in Iran.
The United States, Europe and the United Nations have been imposing increasingly tough economic sanctions on Iran to pressure it to refrain from developing nuclear weapons, which Iran denies it is doing. The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the U.S., China, Russia, Britain and France – plus Germany are scheduled to hold talks with Iran Saturday in Istanbul over its nuclear program, which it maintains is peaceful.
Reuters reported on March 22 that ZTE had sold Iran’s TCI a surveillance system capable of monitoring landline, mobile and internet communications. The system was part of a 98.6 million euro contract for networking equipment signed in December 2010.
The article reported that despite a longtime U.S. sales ban on tech products to Iran, ZTE’s “Packing List” for the contract, dated July 24, 2011, also included numerous American hardware and software products, although they were not part of the surveillance system.
The U.S. product makers – which included Microsoft Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell Inc, among others – all said they were not aware of the Iranian contract, and several said they were investigating the matter.
The day after the article was published, a ZTE spokesman said the company would “curtail” its business in Iran. The company later issued a statement saying, “ZTE no longer seeks new customers in Iran and limits business activities with existing customers.”