Special Report: Chinese firm helps Iran spy on citizens
Reuters / Steve Stecklow

A Chinese telecommunications equipment company has sold Iran's largest telecom firm a powerful surveillance system capable of monitoring landline, mobile and internet communications, interviews and contract documents show.

The system was part of a 98.6 million euro ($130.6 million) contract for networking equipment supplied by Shenzhen, China-based ZTE Corp to the Telecommunication Co of Iran (TCI), according to the documents. Government-controlled TCI has a near monopoly on Iran's landline telephone services and much of Iran's internet traffic is required to flow through its network.

A man who answered the phone at Beijing 8-Star declined to answer any questions about the Iranian contract or confirm his identity. "This part of my company's business is a commercial secret," he said, adding, "I think on this matter, you'd better not ask me. Because it's my commercial secret, I don't wish to tell you."

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