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Saturday, December 09, 2023

Press review: STOP THE BOMB at the Siemens shareholder meeting 2010

Pressetext - Irangeschäft: Brüssel kritisiert Nokia Siemens (February 12, 2010, German)

New York Times - In Response to Iran’s Nuclear Program, German Firms Are Slowly Pulling Out (3.2.2010)

Radio M94,5 München - Interview with Stop the Bomb (3.2.2010)

Huffington Post - From Hitler to Ahmadinejad: CEOs You Can Rely On (30.1.2010)

Süddeutsche Zeitung - Iran Exporte kaum gebremst (28.1.2010)

Haaretz - Obama: Iran will pay a price for stalling nuclear talks (28.1.2010)

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - Siemens schließt keine neuen  Geschäfte mehr mit Iran ab (27.1.2010)

Handelsblatt - Harte Sanktionen gegen Iran (27.1.2010)

Haaretz - German conglomerate Siemens to cut future trade ties with Iran (27.1.2010)

Jerualem Post - German firm Siemens pulls out of Iran (27.1.2010)

ABC News / Associated Press (AP) - Siemens to Stop Doing Business in Iran (27.1.2010)

Thüringische Allgemeine Zeitung / AFP - Siemens verdient Milliarden und deutet Stellenabbau an (27.1.2010)

Jungle World - Die Zukunft liegt in der Zukunft (27.1.2010) - В День памяти Холокоста немецкий Siemens объявил о прекращении сотрудничества с Ираном (27.1.2010)

ZDF Frontal 21 - Iran: Opposition wird mit deutscher Hilfe unterdrückt (26.1.2010) (Script)


Press articles on Siemens in Iran 2009

Many international media reported on Siemens in Iran, this is a selection of articles:

Spiegel online - "German Government Probes Shipments to Iran", December 14, 2009

Tagesspiegel - Siemens sieht sich in USA benachteiligt (7.10.2009) (English translation)

ZEIT - Helft nicht den Hardlinern! (1.10.2009)

Guardian - We can't decide Iran's struggle. But we can avoid backing the wrong side (23.9.2009)
Timothy Garton Ash: "A textbook example of what democracies should not do was provided last year by a joint venture between Siemens and Nokia, called Nokia Siemens Networks. It sold the Iranian regime a sophisticated system with which they can monitor the internet, including emails, internet phone calls and social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, much used by Iranian protesters. In today's politics of people power, that is the equivalent of selling a dictator tanks or poison gas. So, to be clear: a German company, Siemens, which used slave labour during the Third Reich, sold a Holocaust-denying president the instruments with which he can persecute young Iranians risking their lives for freedom. Think of that every time you buy something made by Siemens."

Washington Times - Senate OKs funds to thwart Iran Web censors (26.7.2009)

Huffington Post - Must it be Business as Usual as the People of Iran Hang in the Balance? (20.7.2009)

Shariatmadari (Blog) - Action to disrupt the Monitoring System used by the Iranian Regime (18.7.2009) - Instructions, how to demand from Siemens-Nokia, Perusa and Trovicor to stop the support for the monitoring systems.

Washington Times - Siemens risks losses due to Iran ties (17.7.2009)

Guardian - Iranian consumers boycott Nokia for 'collaboration' (14.7.2009)

WDR Monitor - High-Tech für Ahmadinejad (2.7.2009) (Text + Video)

taz - Iran überwacht mit Siemens-Hilfe (29.6.2009)

Washington Institute for Near East Policy PolicyWatch - Iran Sanctions: The German Control Problem (26.6.2009)

ARD Tagesthemen - Siemens-Nokia Überwachungstechnik im Iran (24.6.2009) (Video)

Die Welt - Merkel und Obama finden einfach nicht zueinander (23.6.2009)

CNN - Nokia-Siemens Helping Iran (23.6.2009) (Video)

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23.6.2009: Claudia Roth zu Handelsbeziehungen mit Iran

Bild, 23.6.2009: So macht die deutsche Wirtschaft Geschäfte mit dem Iran

Der Spiegel, 23.6.2009: Deutsche Hilfe für Ahmadinedschads Garden

Financial Times Deutschland, 23.6.2009: Iran zensiert mit westlicher Hilfe

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 23.6.2009: Deutsch-Finnische Überwachungshilfe

Der Standard, 22.6.2009: Iranische Internet-Zensur: Powered by Nokia Siemens?

Basler Zeitung, 22.6.2009: Iran kontrolliert das Internet mit Hilfe von Nokia und Siemens

Süddeutsche Zeitung, 22.6.2009: Deutsche Technik für iranische Spitzel?

Welt online, 22.6.2009: Nokia Siemens soll Iran bei Zensur geholfen haben

Wall Street Journal, 22.6.2009: Iran's Web Spying Aided By Western Technology

Washington Times, 20.6.2009: Iran prepared to track dissent on social networks

Voice of America, April 2009: Video: Interview with Eli Lake on Siemens/Nokia in Iran (Farsi)

Washington Times, 13.4.2009: Euro telecoms give spy tech to Iran

Wall Street Journal, 5.2.2009: "How Europe's Companies Are Feeding Iran's Bomb"

JTA, 27.1.2009: "Demonstrators demand Siemens end Iran dealings"

Jerusalem Post, 27.1.2009: "Activists demand Siemens halt Iran trade"

Jerusalem Post, 9.4.2008: Benjamin Weinthal, 'German firm helps Iran monitor Israel'

ORF, 7.4.2008: Erich Moechel, "Datenjagd auf Dissidenten" (German)



Did Siemens miss the opportunity to get a major contract for high speed trains in Los Angeles for political reasons?

Der Tagesspiegel, October 7 2009

By Benjamin Weinthal

The business of the German based Siemens group with Iran appears to harm the companies aim to seal large contracts in the United States.

End of September, the Department of Transportation awarded the City of Los Angeles (LA MTA), a 300-million-dollar contract for the construction of 100 high-tech features to the Italian firm Ansaldo-Breda (AB). Siemens is known as the strongest competitor of Ansaldo-Breda. According to the mayor of Los Angeles, the collaboration of Siemens with Iran played a role in the decision against the company. As part of an upcoming contract extension between LA MTA and Ansaldo-Breda, LA MTA considered announcing new contract offers since the trains were delivered late.

Anja Uhlendorff, spokeswoman for Siemens in Germany, told the Tagesspiegel that Siemens gave a presentation of its core business in July, following an invitation of the LA MTA. "The light rail business in the USA is very interesting for us," says Ullendorf. That Siemens was not awarded the light rail link contract means a setback for the group. Since it is also hoping to play a part in the U.S. government 13-billion-dollar program for high-speed trains. However, Uhlendorff stressed that there was "no way" "to apply" for the bid in Los Angeles. Apparently, LA MTA has had an "internal discussion" about Siemens. When asked whether business connections with Iran were a reason for the rejection of Siemens, the spokeswoman of the mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa said: "In 2007 the City of Los Angeles began to withdraw their pension money from companies doing business with Iran. In the eyes of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ties to Iran would raise serious concerns regarding a conclusion of a contract. "

In a heated debate in July, during a board meeting of the LA MTA, an argument brought forward was that of the supply of Nokia-Siemens-surveillance technology to Iran. The Finnish-German joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks sold a modern surveillance system to Iran, allowing the regime to censor the Internet and mobile communications during demonstrations against the obviously fake election in June. In the US House of Representatives, Brad Sherman, a Democratic congressman from California who represents  his party's Iran policy, told the Tagesspiegel: "I am not surprised that Siemens did not win the award, even though AB had some problems. I hope the message gets heard loudly and clearly in the European economy. The risk of ruining a company's reputation is tangible and can jeopardize contracts in the United States and elsewhere. One needs to keep history in mind before one sells automatic weapons or technology for monitoring the Internet. "

Although the chief of the LA MTA, and some members of the Board, criticized the performance of the company Ansaldo Breda, the American public is focused on the connections between Siemens and Iran. That includes an investigative report in the Washington Times.

There is no manufacturer of high speed trains in the U.S. That is why Americans buy from other companies such as Siemens and Ansaldo-Breda or companies in France and Japan. There is much at stake for Siemens in the American market. According to the American government, there are 2009 Siemens contracts totalling 250 million U.S. dollars with the Departments of Defense, Interior, Justice and Energy. As well as the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the Energy Authority. Siemens-Nokia has six contracts with the U.S. government, worth five million U.S. dollars.

But the transport business plays a central role for the Group. Siemens is one of four manufacturers of high speed trains, none of whom is a resident in the
United States, however,

the export operations with Iran could minimalise the Group’s chances to get the contract for the high speed trains. Voters in California approved a 9.5-billion-dollar project to construct a high-speed line.

Anja Uhlendorff says that the competitor Ansaldo-Breda lobbied to discredit Siemens. The American Siemens representative Becky Sabin wrote via e-mail to the Tagesspiegel after the MTA meeting in July: We regret that the political controversy surrounding Siemens and Iran turned the attention away from what really should have been central to her management board: An objective assessment of that what has been done and a discussion of whether other firms are allowed to submit tenders or not. " Karen Heit, a marketing specialist of the MTA board member Diane DuBios, said that "Iran will be closely monitored" in the event of a public tender, even if MTA has no internal directive against companies that are active there. The Siemens-trade with Iran amounted to 438 million U.S. dollars last year.

According to the company, Siemens keeps operating in the energy and infrastructure sectors in Iran. Charles Schumer, Democratic Senator for New York and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (South Carolina), proposed a bill in June, which states that all the European companies doing business in Iran will not get any more U.S. government contracts. The prohibition refers to technologies which are able to block communications via email, Twitter, Internet and mobile phone. In addition, Schumer and Graham wrote a letter to the Obama administration to put pressure on European countries so that they stop their telecommunication business with Iran, especially the trade in surveillance technology.

The pressure on
Iran and European companies continues to grow in the U.S. Senate. A few days ago  a law tightening the existing sanctions for investing in Iran's energy sector was introduced by influential Democratic Senator Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Finance Committee. Europe's gas and oil companies would be affected by it. Whether Siemens can prevent the dispute overseas over its business with Iran remains questionable.

The criticism of Siemens continues in the USA as well as in Germany. Political organizations such as United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) in the City of New York and Stop the Bomb in Germany are campaigning tenaciously against Siemens’ activities in Iran. Both groups sent letters of protest to the board of the LA MTA prior to the award procedure. There was a "large-scale e-mail campaign concerning the links between Iran and Siemens and e-mails came in from all over the world," said MTA board member John Fasana to Tagesspiegel.

Two important co-founders of United Against Nuclear Iran have great influence on the Iran policy of the Obama administration, the former American Ambassador in Berlin, Richard Holbrooke, who is currently the American special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Dennis Ross, special assistant to the President on areas including Iran. The turmoil of Siemens Iranian operations remains a priority for Stop the Bomb. At the Siemens annual general meeting in January, uncomfortable questions were raised by Stop the Bomb members about the activities in Iran, with particular focus on the monitoring technology.

In terms of the deal with
Iran, Siemens has so far been almost completely opaque. Chairman of Siemens, Peter Löscher, confirmed the Siemens-Nokia deal at the time. Amirsedghi Nasrin, a publicist who lives in Mainz and fled from Iran, also supporter of Stop the Bomb, told the Tagesspiegel, "How can countries of the Western World initiate dialogue with the mullahs, establish diplomatic and economic relations, when these people destroy any legitimate civil protest in an inhumane and ruthless manner... Many know that in Iran everything is allowed, just not "human dignity" ... and Siemens is helping the mullahs with its telecommunications technology to perpetuate this injustice. "