American technology, which was not allowed to be exported to Iran due to a trade ban, was shipped from China by Huawei to Iran. This is evidenced by internal Huawei documents held by Reuters.
The documents are two packing lists from December 2010, which show computer equipment from the American HP. That equipment was destined for an Iranian telco provider. In another document, dated two months later, it even literally says that equipment was delivered “to Tehran”.
The documents are strong evidence of violations of trade bans by Huawei. It is therefore likely that the U.S. will use this fact to try to reduce Huawei’s power. The U.S. has been trying to persuade allies to avoid the use of Huawei equipment in their 5G telcos for a long time.
Iranian telco project
According to Reuters, the files relate to a multi-million dollar telecommunications project in Iran. That project already played a major role in Washington’s criminal case against the Chinese company and its financial director, Meng Wanzhou. Incidentally, Huawei and Meng have denied all charges. The case involves accusations of various forms of fraud.
The documents have not yet been named in that case. However, they give new details about Huawei’s role in supplying numerous computer servers, switches and other equipment from HP to the Iranian telecom provider. It is also alleged that software from other U.S. companies was illegally supplied, including software from Microsoft, Symantec and Novell.
The U.S. believes that Huawei and Meng participated in a fraudulent scheme to obtain prohibited U.S. goods and technology. This in order to obtain it for Huawei’s Iranian business. It is also alleged that money has been moved from Iran, and Western banks have been harmed. The indictment literally accuses Huawei and Meng of secretly using an “unofficial subsidiary” in Iran, called Skycom Tech, to ship the banned goods to the country.
Reuters had no access to other relevant documents. What is interesting is that the files show that another Chinese company, Panda International Information Technology, was also involved in obtaining hardware and software for the Iranian project. Panda International has strong relationships with Huawei. Moreover, that company is fully controlled by a Chinese state-owned company. It would appear from the documents that Huawei used Panda International to purchase hardware and software. Some people might see a direct link between the violation of the trade ban and the Chinese government, but so far this remains speculation.