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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

STOP THE BOMB Protests against Siemens 2009


STOP THE BOMB-members participated at Siemens annual stockholder meeting in 2009, asked questions as shareholders and protested in front of the hall against Siemens' Iran business. Below you find STOP THE BOMB's questions and answers of Siemens CEO Peter Loescher. Articles on Siemens in Iran, for example the scandalous delivery of surveillance-technology, which STOP THE BOMB scandalized, can be found at the bottom of this page.

After massive criticism - particularly in Iran and in the US - Siemens lost a 300 Mio. Dollar contract in Los Angeles. Find a press statement of STOP THE BOMB on this case below. Soon after this, Siemens deleted its Iranian webpage. You can find some screenshots of the old webpage here (January 2009).



Answers from Siemens CEO Peter Löscher to the questions of STOP THE BOMB

On the Siemens shareholder meeting on January 27th, 2009 Siemens CEO Peter Löscher gave the following answers to questions asked by STOP THE BOMB shareholders concerning Siemens activities in Iran:

  • In 2008 the trade volume of Siemens with Iran amounted to about 438 million Euros.
  • Siemens main activities in Iran lie in the sectors of infrastructure and energy. Iranian partner companies for infrastructure projects are the Mapna-Group (power plant construction and transportation) and the OTC (oil and gas sector). In the medical sector Siemens works with different agencies and distributors.
  • Siemens has 290 employees in Iran.
  • Recent deals in Iran: In 2007 Siemens delivered 6 gas turbines to the Mapna-Group and 20 turbo compressors to OTC in 2007 and 2008. Between 2006 and 2007 3 gas turbines were delivered to the Mah Taab Company. The biggest deal in 2008 concluded 150 diesel locomotives worth 294 million euros which were delivered to a consortium of Siemens and its Iranian partner Mapna. When asked about the latest deal, Löscher referred to December 2008 when Siemens sold 3 compressors worth 32 million euro to an Iranian company.
  • Concerning the delivery of surveillance technology Löscher said that the deal containing telecommunication technology was made by Siemens Nokia Networks.
  • Löscher said that there were no direct exports from Siemens in the United Arab Emirates to Iran.
  • Löscher stressed that Siemens is aware of the special sensitivity of business with Iran. The company would control all activities in Iran precisely and critically. There would be strict internal controls of all deals which would be in accordance with UN and EU sanctions. There would be no deals with companies that are on the UN embargo list. Siemens would not be involved in building nuclear plants in Iran, he said. “Compliance and ethics have the highest priority for Siemens also when in comes to human rights questions”, stated Löscher.



Open letter to Mr. Löscher, Dr. Cromme - supervisory board chairman and CEO of Siemens AG

Questions about business with Iran for the Siemens AG Managing Board and Supervisory Board

Dear Mr. Löscher and Dr. Cromme,

Germany is the Islamic Republic of Iran's most important Western trade partner. Siemens has concluded contracts for various large projects in Iran in the last few years. According to Siemens, Siemens has recorded sales of €465 million with customers in Iran during the 2007 fiscal year.
We are sure you are aware that Iran is not like most other regular trade partners. One of the Iranian government's declared goals is to erase Israel from the map. Thanks to its nuclear weapons programme, Iran could soon be able to transform this threat into a reality. Iran is already jointly responsible for the murder of Israeli citizens, due to its massive support for the Hamas and Hezbollah terror organizations, including supplying them with weapons. Iran is currently the main obstacle to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Middle East.
Today, January 27th, the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the mourning of the dead mixes with the concern regarding the threat to Israel's existence, the country of the Shoah survivors and their descendants.  Iran's current pursuit of the atomic bomb is an enormous threat to Israel. There have been international attempts for years to divert the Islamic Republic from its dangerous course through sanctions. However, Siemens AG has maintained intensive trade relations with Iran for decades. Its Iranian branch employs over 350 people. Siemens refuses to provide concrete information about its current business relations and its Iranian partners. 
We demand you disclose all business relations with Iranian partners and that you suspend these relations as long as Iran continues its policies described above.
As shareholders of Siemens AG we ask you:  

  • What was the trade volume between Siemens and Iran during the 2008 fiscal year?
  • Which business transactions are planned for 2009 and to what extent?
  • Which Iranian business partners do you currently work with? Is business being conducted with companies that are part of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards? Maybe even with the Khatem-ol Anbiya Construction Organization, which has been on the EU sanctions list since June 24, 2008?
  • Which business transactions with Iran are conducted through third party countries, such as the United Arab Emirates?
  • What jobs do the more than 350 employees of Siemens S.S.K Iran perform? Why have new jobs been advertised in the Iranian Dependence? (Source: Screenshot Siemens Iran homepage, January 2009)
  • Has Siemens delivered 24 power plants to Iran, as announced in the media in 2005?
  • Has Siemens delivered 200 traction vehicles to Iran, as the German Foreign Trade Association announced in August 2007?
  • Did Siemens conclude a contract in December 2008 for the delivery of turbocompressors with a petrochemical factory in Zanjan?
  • Has Siemens supplied Iran with modern surveillance technology for the electronic monitoring of opposition leaders and human rights organizations, as announced in the media in April 2008?

Dear Mr. Löscher and Dr. Cromme, how is it possible that Siemens, which already profited from slave labor in Auschwitz and was also involved in other Nazi crimes, is now once again acting as an important mainstay of an anti-Semitic and terrorist regime? What does the Siemens Managing Board have to say about the countless human rights violations in Iran, the brutal destruction of trade unions, the violent suppression of women, the terrorizing of minorities and the murder of homosexuals, as well as the threat to Israel?
We expect to hear the answers to these questions at the General Meeting. We demand that Siemens and other German companies suspend their business with Iran and therefore stop torpedoing the international efforts for a non-military solution of the Iran conflict.
STOP THE BOMB Coalition January 27, 2009


STOP THE BOMB press release, 28 September 2009

After international criticism about trade with Iran Siemens loses 300 Million Dollar contract in Los Angeles

Last week the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in Los Angeles decided to give a 300 million dollar contract to Siemens competitor AnsaldoBreda, an Italian company with expertise in building light rail cars.

Among other reasons, the Munich based company Siemens was criticized for its Iranian business ties. In 2008 Siemens´ exports to Iran amounted to 438 million Euros (=640 million USD). Furthermore, the joint venture Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) delivered surveillance technology to the Iranian regime, the very technology which was used in the brutal oppression of Iran's democratic protest movement this summer.

STOP THE BOMB, a German NGO which calls for German sanctions against Iran, had strongly expressed their conviction - along with many other organizations like United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) - that a Los Angeles light rail contract should not be given to companies which have business ties with the regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights lawyer and Nobel Peace Prize winner had also urged Los Angeles County to penalize Siemens for assisting in the violation of fundamental human rights by selling spy technology to the Iranian regime.

STOP THE BOMB was involved in the exposure of the scandalous Nokia Siemens Networks deal as well. In this year's NSN’s January meeting of shareholders, STOP THE BOMB activists asked Siemens CEO Peter Löscher about the sale of the software to Iran.  He was forced to confirm that the sale of this spy ware was in fact made by Nokia Siemens Networks.

STOP THE BOMB spokesman Michael Spaney requested that Siemens “follow the example of General Electric and publicly declare of refraining from further trades with the Iranian regime.”

“The economic support of Iran's oppressive regime with Germany’s high technology - from Siemens and from many other German companies, has to be stopped”, said Michael Spaney. The bulk of Iran's economy is owned and controlled by its ruthless regime. There are estimates that about 70% of Iranian companies are owned by members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Conducting business with Iran means in fact to directly support a dictatorial and antisemitic regime, which is on the brink of acquiring nuclear power.

Please find a translated article on this story below.


STOP THE BOMB press release, January 28, 2009

Siemens continues business as usual with the Mullahs

On the occasion of the Siemens´ stockholder meeting on Tuesday in Munich´s Olympiahalle protests emerged against the business deals of the company with Iran. Worried stockholders and activists of the STOP THE BOMB campaign criticized the trade relations between Siemens and the Islamic Republik of Iran. The board of directors answered evasively to the detailed questions. Yet it became clear, that Siemens still continues business as usual with the aggressive Iranian regime. Siemens had to admit that it has a annual turnover of 438 million Euro, a figure which it didn´t announce publicly until yesterday´s shareholder meeting. 

Even in the last months, Siemens signed new contracts on exporting gas turbines to Iran. Press reports about Siemens backing out of the Iran business hence proved to be unfounded. Siemens still is strongly present in the energy sector, were Iran is dependent on high tech made in the west and especially Germany. For this reason sanctions in the energy sector are supposed to be highly effective.


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. "