MTA takes issue with potential contractor’s ties with Iran

Officials for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Friday that they were concerned about the Iranian business connections of Siemens Corp., a potential contender for lucrative contracts to build light rail and subway cars for the agency.Siemens, which owns Siemens Transportation Systems Inc., partnered with Nokia last year to provide TCI, Iran’s telecommunications company, the technology to monitor voice calls on the country’s fixed and mobile telephone networks. Though such systems are legal and in place around the world, a controversy has erupted over whether the technology has provided the Iranian government with the capability to eavesdrop on dissidents.Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is a vice chairman of the MTA board, and board member Richard Katz said they were concerned about Siemens’ ties to Iran considering the widespread civil unrest that has followed the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”The mayor has been working to ensure that the city divests from any company that does business with Iran,” said Matt Szabo, a spokesman for Villaraigosa. “So obviously any connection Siemens or any other potential contractor has to Iran would be of great concern to the mayor when considering a contract.”Katz said he had the same concerns. He noted that members of Congress are considering legislation to prevent federal contracts from going to companies doing business with Iran.But t… >>>

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