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Adaptive Mobile quits Iran over regime crisis

System 'not accessed by authorities'

TAXPAYER-backed Adaptive Mobile has pulled out of Iran on the back of concerns about the regime. It earlier exited Syria for similar reasons.

"The worsening political situation together with the behaviour of the Iranian government has led the company to re-evaluate its business in Iran," the technology firm told the Sunday Independent. It ended lucrative contracts with a major mobile provider there at the end of May.

State body Enterprise Ireland has invested €500,000 in Dublin-based Adaptive, where US giant Intel has a €6m share and private equity group Doughty Hanson also has a stake.

Last week in the High Court, counsel for Kathryn Smith, Adaptive Mobile's senior vice president of global operations, said that her relationship with her employers suffered when she objected to doing business with a company in Iran due to "human rights concerns". The company's technology was being used to track dissidents there, it was claimed during a court case in which Ms Smith was challenging her suspension from the company over alleged client relationship issues.

Earlier this year newswire agency Bloomberg claimed that Iranian and Syrian police and intelligence operatives used Adaptive Mobile's technology to track and crush anti-government protesters.

Adaptive Mobile has said it provided mobile phone text monitoring technology to major telecoms companies MTN Irancell and MTN Syria only for entirely legitimate purposes to guard against viruses and spam.

"Adaptive Mobile supplied standard product to the Iranian and Syrian Telecoms market," the company said on Friday. "This is no different to products used in Ireland or throughout the world."

The company said it had investigated the claim that law enforcement in Iran and Syria had accessed its system and found no indication of this. It said Irancell and MTN Syria confirmed that their systems had not been accessed by the authorities.

"Adaptive Mobile has never at any point had discussions with law enforcement with regards features or providing additional capabilities to the standard product," it added.

It said that the company "does not condone and will not allow the unlawful use or abuse of any software and/or technology".

Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel, has a 5 per cent share in Adaptive Mobile, though US firms have been largely banned from trading with Iran since the 1990s.

"Adaptive Mobile is one of Ireland's leading software companies and a significant employer and exporter. We understand that the company has withdrawn its business from Iran and Syria," a spokesperson for the State body said.

Adaptive said it had ceased operating in rebellion-torn Syria in 2010 following the arrival of a new CEO, a decision motivated by ethical and reputational considerations.

Sunday Indo Business