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Monday, January 18, 2010

Iranian gov't buys software from...Israel?

From JPost (h/t Suzanne):
An Israeli IT company has sold an online business management system to the Teheran Chamber of Commerce.

Yehoshua Meiri, a spokesman for the Ramat Gan-based company DaroNet, said his company had sold Teheran's Chamber of Commerce more than 70 licenses providing for the use of DaroNet's signature business Web site management software.

The $1 million deal, signed last month at DaroNet's European headquarters in Belgium, involved a down payment of $200,000, to be followed by 10 payments throughout the year.

"The deal is signed and delivered," Meiri said. "They can't go back on it now."

Both direct and indirect trade between Israel and Iran is illegal in both countries.

Meiri said his company only realized it was selling the system to an Iranian entity when it was asked to translate the system into Farsi. The contract was signed with a European businessman from the Netherlands representing the Teheran Chamber of Commerce.

"Once we realized, we decided to lower our profile a bit on this issue," he said. "I have no idea if they know we are Israeli, but anyway the deal is done and they know now."

"Lots of Israelis do business with Iran," he added. "From cherry tomatoes to high tech, it's a $250m. trade."

Officials at the Teheran Chamber of Commerce denied knowledge of the deal.

"As far as I know, we have not bought anything from this company and our team has developed our own content management system," said Hassan Ramazani, director of the Chamber of Commerce's IT department. "But I must look into this matter and get back to you."
According to Germany's N-TV, which broke the story on Friday, says that many DaroNet employees are "ultra-orthodox" Jews in Elad, including 120 religious women.

The N-TV story also adds the intriguing claim that Tehran recently approached an Israeli firm to obtain detailed plans of Tehran's sewage system that Israel helped build under the Shah, as well as the fact that "plans of many large and public buildings in the Iranian capital are still lying in the archives of Solel Boneh, another Israeli company with international projects" that worked in Iran before the revolution.

According to another story, Daronet already had sales of its software to chambers of commerce in Jordan and Oman.