Re: Meet the U.S. Defense Firm Supplying Iran’s Internet

Cari Machet carimachet at
Mon Nov 2 09:26:45 PST 2015

its not fucking 'unusual'

it is hilarious though - the depth of reporting #pathetic

On Mon, Nov 2, 2015 at 6:08 PM, Razer <Rayzer at> wrote:

>    -
>    <>
> Disconnect
> 11.01.1512:01 AM ET
> Meet the U.S. Defense Firm Supplying Iran’s Internet
> A company that works for American spies and generals has quietly started
> providing Internet service to the Islamic Republic. What’s going on here?
> Nestled in a suburban Washington, D.C.
> <>,
> office park, across the street from a shopping mall, a technology company
> that counts the U.S. Defense Department
> <>
> as its biggest customer is charting out a new frontier: providing Internet
> service to Iran.
> But GTT Communications Inc.—headquartered in McLean, Virginia, just a
> 15-minute drive from the headquarters of the CIA and hired by various
> unnamed U.S. intelligence agencies and satellite operators—hasn’t exactly
> been touting its new venture.
> The company has issued no press release about its deal with an undersea
> cable network that sells Internet services to Iran and other Persian Gulf.
> (One of the cables comes ashore at the city of Bushehr, home to a nuclear
> plant that’s been the subject of intense debate about its role in Iran’s
> nuclear program.)
> Instead, the partnership was announced
> <>
> in a single tweet last May; both parties have been largely silent about the
> deal since then. When contacted by The Daily Beast for details about the
> deal with the Doha-based submarine cable operator, Gulf Bridge
> International, a GTT spokesperson said the agreement wouldn’t be finalized
> for a few more weeks.
> And yet technical data shows that GTT was providing Internet service to
> Iran for months.
> The Islamic Republic has been off limits to most U.S. companies for years.
> A complex sanctions
> <>
> regime
> <>,
> meant in part to isolate the regime in Tehran and obstruct its efforts to
> obtain a nuclear weapon, bars the sale of good and services by many
> American companies, including through intermediaries.
> But last year, the Treasury Department, which administers the sanctions
> program, issued new rules (PDF
> <>)
> authorizing the sale of “consumer-grade Intemet connectivity services.”
> That created an opening for GTT, as well as any other American companies
> that want to cash in on the Iranian market for Internet service, which is
> booming thanks in large part to a surge of new mobile phone users in the
> country.
> The company began providing bandwidth to Iran’s state-owned telecom
> company, TIC, via one of Gulf Bridge’s submarines cables on June 10, Doug
> Madory, the director of analysis at Dyn, a research company that monitors
> Internet connectivity, told The Daily Beast. Notably, that was nearly a
> month before the U.S., Iran, and other world powers announced an agreement
> <>
> to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for lifting some
> sanctions.
> Only Iranian officials would know the exact percentage of Iran’s Internet
> traffic that was flowing to and from GTT, said Madory, who first noted
> <>
> the company’s presence in Iran last month. But, he said, the Iranian
> Internet is effectively composed of about 5,000 network routes, and at its
> peak in August, “GTT was handling anywhere from some to all of the
> international traffic” to more than 1,800 of those routes, or about 16.6
> percent of the total.
> So GTT was not some small-time provider.
> Asked for more details about its work in Iran, the GTT spokesperson, Ann
> Rote, said that she would be able to provide specifics after the
> partnership was finalized.
> But, Rote said, the company’s work violated no sanctions, and was in line
> with “U.S. policy to facilitate the flow of information to and from Iran.”
> When contacted by The Daily Beast for details about the Iran deal, a GTT
> spokesperson said the agreement wouldn’t be finalized for a few more weeks.
> And yet technical data shows that GTT was providing Internet service to
> Iran for months.
> “GTT does not conduct any business in Iran or with the Government of
> Iran,” Rote said. “Any Internet traffic coming from Iran and transiting
> GTT’s global IP [Internet protocol] network is coming indirectly from
> customers of wholesale or carrier partners in the Middle East region.”
> Technically, she’s right. GTT’s customer is Gulf Bridge International, the
> undersea cable provider. But the technical data strongly suggest that GTT
> knew—or should have known—that it was providing service to the state
> telecom of Iran. And that’s a crucial question, because while U.S.
> companies are allowed to sell Internet service to Iran, they may not do so
> if they have “knowledge or reason to know that such services … are intended
> for the Government of Iran,” according to Treasury Department rules.
> State-owned companies are also covered by that prohibition, two lawyers who
> are expert in the sanctions rules told The Daily Beast.
> In October, GTT was “transiting” 521 Iranian routes, Madory said, meaning
> that at some level GTT was responsible for “propagating these routes to the
> greater Internet.” Effectively, GTT was advertising that route for traffic
> destined to particular Internet addresses in Iran
> But on October 5, the service abruptly stopped, apparently after one of
> Gulf Bridge International’s cables was cut. The service has not been
> restored, Madory said. Up until that point, it had been going strong for
> nearly four months.
> GTT’s service to Iran raises questions about why an American Internet
> company with close ties to the U.S. government and intelligence community
> would be selling off bandwidth to a country that is still a major strategic
> adversary of the United States.
> Despite the nuclear deal, Iran is providing the bulk of ground forces to
> crush Syrian rebels opposed to Bashar al-Assad, and is part of an emerging
> power axis with Russia, which has launched
> <>
> airstrikes to keep the Syrian dictator in power and to keep Moscow’s
> foothold in the Middle East.
> But Iran is expanding economically—and digitally—as well. And that
> presents an opportunity for American technology companies.
> Since August 2014, when the Iran’s national telecom regulator began
> awarding licenses for 3G and 4G mobile phone service, subscriptions have
> surged, to about 20.5 million people last month, Amy Cameron, a senior
> analyst with BMI Research, told The Daily Beast. That’s about 27 percent of
> the country’s population, the majority of which is under 30 and,
> presumably, eager to embrace new technologies and the access to information
> that comes with them.
> The surge in mobile phone service is a big business, and Iran needs more
> Internet addresses and access for all those new devices, Cameron said. In
> addition to acquiring new service routes—like the ones GTT provides—the
> government has also been buying up Internet addresses that use the
> so-called “version 4”
> <> protocol,
> a vital, and increasingly scarce, component of the world’s Internet
> infrastructure. And Iran plans to auction more wireless broadband spectrum,
> which should in turn attract more investment in mobile networks.
> “All of these developments point towards Iran making concerted efforts to
> open its Internet market,” Cameron said. Of course, there are limits to
> that openness: Iran’s primary telecom company is owned by the military, and
> the Tehran government monitors communications for prohibited content.
> All of which makes its affiliation with a telecom company in suburban
> Washington even more unusual.
> --30--

Cari Machet
NYC 646-436-7795
carimachet at
AIM carismachet
Syria +963-099 277 3243
Amman +962 077 636 9407
Berlin +49 152 11779219
Reykjavik +354 894 8650
Twitter: @carimachet <>

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