• 5 August 2009
  • Posted By Ali Delforoush
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

Iranian backlash against Nokia

nokia billboards

Over the past few weeks Iranians have turned their backs on Nokia. There are widespread reports that many are boycotting the brand while rumors are swirling about a huge bonfire in Tehran, which allegedly consisted of Nokia phones and products.

There have also been reports of vandalism against Nokia posters and billboards. The picture above shows a vandalized Nokia billboard on a major highway in Shiraz. The billboard is covered in green paint.


Also there is this poster, which describes a “new Nokia product, produced with the cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Iran” that is “capable of identifying, torturing and killing Iranian youth.”

These images show Iranian anger against the wireless company after it was revealed to have provided the Iranian government with sensitive surveillance technology that aided in the post-election crackdown.

Posted By Ali Delforoush

    8 Responses to “Iranian backlash against Nokia”

  1. jake says:

    I feel as if Iran hates its ouwn people, and will not stop at anything to control the outcome . {ower is what the dictator wants even if he has to kill his own people to get this power.

  2. Dave says:

    I will never buy a nokia product or any product made by an umbrella company. Thank god apple iphone isnt made by them. F you NOKIA.

  3. Darin says:

    Nokia Siemens Networks, not Nokia, simply sold the infrastructure equipment to Iran. NSN didn’t do anything different with Iran, than they’ve done with any other buyer around the world. They certainly didn’t show them how to oppress their people using the equipment. They simply sold them the equipment. Come on people!

  4. Kyle Fullmer says:

    That’s like saying it’s ok to sell a kid a gun as long as you don’t teach them to pull the trigger. They are still providing the means.

  5. mark says:

    > Come on people!

    Quit excusing the responsibility of corporations, Darin.

    They want to do business, so it is understandable that they want to expand their markets, but we are not people without brains nor ethical values. We can definitely boycott companies that cooperate closely with regimes.

    I simply fail to see the point to support companies which help regimes like the Iranian one.

    If Nokia were so well-meaning they could acknowledge responsibility and fund projects that help people against authoritarian regimes, but at the given time they do not even try this at all.

  6. Mobster says:

    Darin… If you would be blogging in Tehran just like you are doing right now… and suddenly out of nothing having some security personnel in front of your door… because you wrote something critical regime… and in the process would be transferred to the Evin prison where they would break your spirit/body and GOD knows what else… where your destiny would not even be in the hands of god… Then I would like to hear from you weather Nokia and Siemens should or shouldn’t have sold these equipments. They simply can locate your place if you are blogging/twittering. Marvelous job isn’t it?

  7. Darin says:

    Nokia Seimens Networks publically denied any involvement and, It’s my understanding, that they have also stopped all business ties as well.

    To think that NSN some how decided to collaborate with Iran to oppress the Iranian population is quite ignorant. What next, boycott any auto manufactures that have sold vehicles in Iran since they would certainly be needed in mobilizing ground forces needed to control uprisings? What about other infrastructure necessities such as electricity, water, etc., all certainly needed in aiding the oppression.

    It just seems silly to think a company as large as NSN would be so stupid as to actually do what is being alleged. Do the Iranian people not deserve cellular communications? Of course, and that was surely NSN’s sole reason for working with Iranian cellular operators.

    The issue lies in the ruling power, and the system itself. This half-baked conspiracy theory just simply doesn’t hold water.

  8. Jerrod says:

    The fact is that NSN didn’t simply sell the Iranian government the infrastructure necessary to install a phone network in Iran. In addition, it sold specialized signal processing systems which are used for the sole purpose of identifying and locating particular handsets. Are you saying that they bear no culpability at all?

    On the one hand, I agree with your assertion that Nokia is not exactly a gun dealer in this situation: as you point out, they were in effect trying to provide Iranians with a service, and I have no doubt that one of the terms of their contract was that they provide this monitoring capability to the Iranian people. I’m sure execs at Nokia were following some type of “more harm than good” principle, assuming that the benefit to people of having wireless communications outweighed the potential harm of providing the government the capability to track and suppress dissenting citizens.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that Nokia must have known that the Iranian government, once provided this capability, would likely use it for purposes which Western nations see as violating basic human rights and freedoms. While they may not exactly be analogous to arms dealers, they are most certainly not free from all responsibility. These systems do serve legitimate purposes, and in the hands of a responsive and responsible government they’re entirely appropriate. Iran’s current government is neither of these things, and the execs at Nokia most certainly knew this when they sold them the equipment. They simply put the profit motive first in their considerations.

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