After revealing that the company sold Iran, the largest telecommunications company a surveillance system that can be users to monitor landline, mobile and internet communication, the Chinese firm ZTE has said it is going to scale its business dealings with the country. Reuters revealed the news on Thursday, which stated that the manufacturer had signed a contract worth $130.6 million with the Telecommunication Co of Iran last year. Talking about the deal and its plans, a ZTE spokesperson told Reuters that “we are going to curtail our business in Iran,” but that it was a decision that company came to “some time ago.”
Mahmoud Tadjallimehr, a former telecommunications project manager in Iran who has worked for major European and Chinese equipment makers, said the ZTE system supplied to TCI was “country-wide” and was “far more capable of monitoring citizens than I have ever seen in other equipment” sold by other companies to Iran. He said its capabilities included being able “to locate users, intercept their voice, text messaging … emails, chat conversations or web access.”
ZTE, China’s second largest telecom equipment maker, is publicly traded but its largest shareholder is a Chinese state-owned enterprise. The fast-growing firm, which says it sells equipment to more than 500 carriers in more than 160 countries, reported annual revenue of $10.6 billion in 2010.