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A Siemens logo on the Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran
Reports say Siemens may have broken export laws with its deliveries to IranImage: AP/DW

Nuclear probe

December 12, 2009

The German government has begun investigating technology giant Siemens over two shipments to Iran which allegedly contained parts destined for the country's nuclear arms industry.


German news magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday that Siemens faces a government probe for selling technology to Iran that could have been used for the country's nuclear missile program.

One of the cases involves a delivery of turbo compressors seized by customs officers in Hamburg. The shipment was worth 16 million euros and reportedly part of a larger order dispatched by a Swedish subsidiary of Siemens to an Iranian company.

In the other case, the magazine reported that the British navy stopped a Chinese ship containing computers near Dubai. The shipment was intended for an Iranian company. The computers, which are used to control nuclear reactors, were thought to have been sent to China by Siemens.

Siemens would not give specific details about the shipments. But the company told Der Spiegel that it did not break any German foreign trade laws. “Our business activities in Iran serve purely civil purposes and are in accord with international legal regulations,” a Siemens spokesperson told the magazine.

Not the first controversy with Iran

The latest allegations come months after criticism that Siemens, along with its Finnish partner Nokia, sold technology to Iran that was thought to be capable of monitoring phone calls and e-mails. This was in the wake of Iran's widespread post-election protests, where the Iranian government was accused of censoring public dissent.

Protests in Iran
Siemens was criticized for selling eavesdropping technology to Iran during election protestsImage: AP

A spokesperson for Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), Ben Roome, said the technology could be used to monitor calls, but denied claims it was capable of censoring web content. "Voice call monitoring is required by the courts to listen to phone calls coming from a particular phone number, the telecommunication systems have an ability to do that," Roome said. He added that the technology provided by NSN allows millions of Iranians to communicate every day.


Editor: Sonia Phalnikar

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