The German electronics and electrical engineering giant trades in the United States as an American Depositary Receipt (ADR). It gets about 19% of its revenue from business in the U.S., including work for the Defense, State and Homeland Security departments and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
But Siemens also provides know-how and equipment to support power plant construction, power generation and distribution, rail transport and telecommunications in Iran. Rather than back away from Iran because of that country's support for terrorist groups, Siemens boasts on its Web site that the goal of its subdivision there is "to intensify business relations with Iran and to further strengthen the company's position in the country."
Siemens' work in telecommunications is especially troubling for critics of companies that do business in countries with links to terrorist groups. "That's inherently dual use," says Christopher Holton, director of the Center for Security Policy's
Divest Terror Initiative. Holton's group describes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes "peace through strength."
By this he means that the telecom system being refined by Siemens may one day be used by Iran's military in a conflict with the United States or its allies. "Siemens is helping Iran with their military command and communications. I have a real problem with that," says Holton. "We may have to fight those people, and Siemens is on the wrong side in that war. That's just outrageous to me. It makes me sick to my stomach."