Nobel laureate says Siemens and Nokia help Iran regime

PARIS — Nobel prizewinner Shirin Ebadi on Tuesday accused German engineering giant Siemens and Finnish telecoms firm Nokia of supplying Iran with technology to help it suppress democratic dissent.

Speaking on France Culture radio, the exiled Iranian feminist and 2003 Nobel peace laureate, said Western firms are undermining opposition to Tehran's authoritarian regime and called for international economic sanctions.

"Unfortunately, a certain number of firms support the Iranian regime in its repression and censorship," she said.

"It's clearly the case with Siemens and Nokia when they send the Iranian state software and technology that it can use to monitor mobile telephone calls and text messages," she declared.

Earlier this month, the firms' joint subsidiary Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) had already insisted that a system it sold Tehran in 2008 is not capable of bugging calls or spying on the Internet.

Nokia went further following Ebadi's latest charges, insisting that networks supported by its technology could in fact boost freedom of expression.

"We, as a company, in no way approve of the misuse of telecommunication equipment," Nokia Siemens Network spokeswoman Riitta Maard told AFP.

"We believe that communication and mobile phone technologies play a significant role in the development of societies and the advancement of democracy," she said.

Ebadi is unconvinced, however, citing the contract as evidence that Wester... >>>

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