Huawei partner offered banned HP gear to Iran

A major Iranian partner of Huawei Technologies offered to sell at least 1.3 million euros worth of embargoed Hewlett-Packard computer equipment to Iran's largest mobile-phone operator in late 2010, documents show.

China's Huawei, the world's second largest telecommunications equipment maker, says neither it nor its partner, a private company registered in Hong Kong, ultimately provided the HP products to the telecom, Mobile Telecommunication Co of Iran, known as MCI. Nevertheless, the incident provides new evidence of how Chinese companies have been willing to help Iran evade trade sanctions.

The proposed deal also raises new questions about Shenzhen-based Huawei, which recently was criticised by the US House Intelligence Committee for failing to "provide evidence to support its claims that it complies with all international sanctions or US export laws."

At least 13 pages of the proposal to MCI, which involved expanding its subscriber billing system, were marked "Huawei confidential" and carried the company's logo, according to documents seen by Reuters. In a statement to Reuters, Huawei called it a "bidding document" and said one of its "major local partners", Skycom Tech Co, had submitted it to MCI.

The statement went on to say, "Huawei's business in Iran is in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations including those of the UN, US and EU. This commitment has been carried out and followed strictly by our company. Further, we also require our partners to follow the same commitment and strictly abide by the relevant laws and regulations."

In October, Reuters reported that another Iranian partner of Huawei last year tried to sell embargoed American antenna equipment to Iran's second largest mobile operator, MTN Irancell, in a deal the buyer ultimately rejected. The US antenna manufacturer, CommScope Inc, has an agreement with Huawei in which the Chinese firm can use its products in Huawei systems, according to a CommScope spokesman. He added that his company strives to comply fully with all US laws and sanctions.

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