In a previous report, IranWire identified the weapons and other equipment used by Iranian security forces to crack down on the nationwide protest movement that has swept Iran for eight weeks. This report takes a closer look at the individuals and companies that supply equipment used to either monitor and identify protesters or brutally suppress them.
CCTV cameras and other visual surveillance equipment are crucial tools used by the government of the Islamic Republic to identify and arrest protesters, particularly CCTV cameras that are installed across cities for traffic control.
These arrests almost always lead to the abuse and torture of the detainees to extract forced confession, to kangaroo courts and to unjust prison sentences, including lashings and capital punishment. Nevertheless, suppliers of these equipment continue to sell them to the Islamic Republic and thus play an indirect role in the violation of basic human rights in Iran, such as freedoms of expression and assembly, as well as the right to privacy.
On January 3, 2018, Tasnim, a news agency affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), published a set of pictures taken from protesters by a traffic camera in front of Tehran University and asked the public to identify the demonstrators and inform security agencies about their identities. Several student activists were later arrested and received heavy sentences. One of them, Leila Hosseinzadeh, had a picture of her published by Tasnim and was sentenced to 6 years in prison.
Gerdab is a website affiliated with IRGC’s Center to Investigate Organized Crime, which has a long record of arresting, torturing and extracting forced confessions. On September 24, 2022, the website published videos and pictures of tens of protesters taken by traffic control and CCTV cameras in government offices, and asked its readers to identify them.
For years now, human rights organizations have been warning against the Islamic Republic’s use of surveillance and information control technologies.
During the ongoing wave of protests that started after the September 16 death of Mahsa Amini, the government has also been using micro aerial vehicles (MAVs) and drones to identify protesters. In an October 10 interview, General Hassan Karami, commander of Special Units (riot police) said his forces were using various surveillance cameras and MAVs to identify demonstrators or guide police forces.
On October 30, Mehr News Agency published a video of a drone used by riot police to identify protesters. In the footage, the drone operator can be seen next to a riot police sharpshooter. Then images of protesters that were taken by the drone are shown, followed by pictures of detained protestors.
These instances leave no doubt that security forces are using visual surveillance equipment to identify, suppress, arrest, detail or even kill protesters.
Which companies are involved in supplying the Islamic Republic with this equipment?
Tiandy Technologies Ltd. is a Chinese company founded in 1994 that, according to its website, ranks No.7 in the surveillance sector. According to a report by Internet Protocol Video Market (IPVM), a security and surveillance industry research group, Tiandy is supplying Iran's Revolutionary Guards, police and military with surveillance equipment “while touting itself as an Iran-friendly alternative to other PRC manufacturers who do not have direct operations in Iran.” In 2020, it had an income of $688 million from the sale of its video surveillance equipment. IPVM also reports that Tiandy is a private company and 95 percent of its shares is owned by Chinese billionaire Dai Lin.
Tiandy’s representative in Iran is Radis Vira Tejarat Co, whose CEO is Abbas Azarpendar. It has a five-year contract with Pars Ertebat Afzar Co, which is a supplier of various surveillance equipment, and had a booth at the 2019 Police, Safety, and Security Equipment Exhibition (IPAS), organized by Naji Pas Co, an affiliate of the Police Cooperative Foundation. This company has received 24 million euros at the low official exchange rate.
Tiandy is also a manufacturer of interrogation chairs, known as “tiger chairs,” which, according to many reports, have been used to torture prisoners in Iran. Amnesty International reports that such chairs were used to torture detainees during the November 2019 protests in Iran.
Faragostar Persia Electronics Co
Faragostar Persia Electronics Co, founded in 2003, is a supplier of various video surveillance and security equipment, including those made by Dahua Technology, HikVision, Tiandy, Nazer, Maxron, Albatron and Optina.
The CEO of this company is Farhad Noori, who made a presentation about the company’s activities and its dealings with the Islamic Republic’s government agencies at the 2018 IPAS. This company has worked with many government projects, including in 2020 when it sold CCTV equipment manufactured by the Chinese company Dahua Technology to the Interior Ministry. This company has been sanctioned by the United States for its implication “in human rights violations and abuses in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance.”
Persia System Co
Persia System Co, founded in 2005, is a representative of the Chinese government-owned HikVision, which has been accused of involvement in human rights violations, including crimes against humanity. In its verdict, the Uyghur Tribunal that has examined evidence regarding China's human rights abuses against Muslims in Xinjiang has concluded that HikVision had been complicit in “designing and operating mass surveillance systems to repress Uyghurs.” This company has also been sanctioned by the United States for its role in China’s violations of human rights.
Persia System has had numerous contracts with the Islamic Republic’s government agencies and ministries, and is a regular participant in IPAS. Mohsen Ebrahimi, Hassan Asadi and Akbar Goodarzi are members of the company’s board of directors.
Sepehr Houshmand Co
Sepehr Houshmand Co claims to be an official representative of U.S. tech giant Honeywell and offers all kinds of CCTV equipment. This company has regularly participated in IPAS exhibitions and, in a promotional video of its booth in 2019, Honeywell equipment and its logo are clearly visible.
In a statement sent to IranWire, Honeywell said it "does not have a relationship with Sepehr Sanat Hooshmand Pasargad." "In accordance with Company policy, Honeywell complies with all applicable sanctions laws, including prohibitions on U.S. comprehensively sanctioned jurisdictions including Iran."
When contacted by IranWire, a Sepehr Houshmand employee claimed that the Iranian company does offer Honeywell products with multi-year guarantees. The Iran Business Directory mentions a registered contract between this company and the Iranian Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare for the sale of Honeywell equipment.
Tartan Dezh Ariana Co
Tartan Dezh Ariana Co is another company that offers a wide variety of video surveillance equipment manufactured by Chines companies such as Dahua, Tiandy, HikVision and HiLook. This company has been involved in projects with Sharif University, Iran University of Science and Technology and Tehran’s city government.
Pouyesh Rayan Datis Co
Pouyesh Rayan Datis Co, which describes itself the biggest supplier of video surveillance equipment in Iran, is the exclusive supplier of Briton CCTV cameras that Datis claims are manufactured in Iran. Datis is a regular participant in IPAS exhibitions and has carried out numerous projects for Iranian government ministries and agencies, including the Tehran city government.
Afradid Irsa Co
Afradid Irsa Co is a dealer of Sweden-made Axis CCTV cameras. It claims that it is official representative of this Swedish company and that “all projects carried out by company are done in cooperation with the Swedish Axis Co.”
There are many other companies that supply Iranian government agencies with surveillance equipment, including Iran Notrika, a manufacturer of video surveillance equipment. There’s also Sahba Co, which claims to have participated in 300 projects across the country with various kinds of organizations including schools and universities, banks and the military.
Basir Electro-Robot Co
Basir Electro-Robot Co was registered at the Organization for Registration of Deeds and Properties as No. 514422 and has an office in Tehran. No other information about this company is available. Pictures from the 2017 IPAS exhibition show three products offered by this company: a border observation and firing system and two micro aerial vehicles, one for surveillance and the other for assault. In an interview with state TV, a company representative describes how the armed micro aerial vehicle works.
Police Science and Social Studies Institute
Two models of “anti-riot drones,” apparently made by the Police Science and Social Studies Institute, affiliated with national police (NAJA) can also be seen in pictures from the 2017 IPAS.
Suppliers of Anti-Riot Equipment
This section of the report is an overview of the companies providing the Islamic Republic’s security forces with equipment, from armored vehicles, weapons and ammunition to equipment used by individual force members such as armor, helmets, shields and batons.
South Korea’s Jino Motors was launched in 2002 as a subsidiary company of Jino Corporation, a manufacturer of a wide variety of military and security equipment. In 2003, Jino Motors, which describes itself as “the No. 1 manufacturer of anti-riot vehicles,” set up a factory to produce anti-riot vehicles. In 2006, it registered itself as Jino Motors Ltd., and it received an award in 2016 from the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy’s Trade Commission for exporting $10 million worth of equipment. According to available information, Jin Ho Wee is the CEO of this company.
A 2013 report published by Jino Motors lists the Iranian National Police among its customers. Next to it, the names of some of the most notorious security agencies in the world can be seen, including the interior ministries of Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Uzbekistan, the Ethiopian Federal Police and Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security.
The report also has a list of orders that have been approved by the South Korean Chamber of Commerce, but the Iranian police does not appear on it.
This list shows that, between 2010 and 2013, Jino Motors sold a total of 201 water cannon vehicles to 16 countries, including five to the Syrian Ministry of Interior. Since 2011, Syria has witnessed unprecedented repression against dissent. In that year alone, at least 2,000 protesters were killed by government forces. The company also received an order for 36 of these vehicles from Iraq’s central government. Yemen’s Interior Ministry placed an order for 30 armored vehicles and received 15 of them by 2013.
As of now, Jino Motors has not responded to an inquiry sent by IranWire about its sales to Iran.
According to the following document, it appears that either these vehicles were sold to Iran after 2013 or, for some reason, they are missing from the list submitted to the South Korean Chamber of Commerce. Nevertheless, the model JRC-6500, seen in the picture, closely resembles water cannon vehicle used by the Iranian riot police:
Dalian Eagle Sky Industries
The Chinese company Dalian Eagle Sky Industries (DES) is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of security and military equipment. It was founded in 2007 and opened its first foreign office in 2007 in Bucharest, Romania, with an eye on the Eastern European markets. The company manufactures a wide variety of other kinds of equipment such as locomotive parts and fire trucks.
DES is one of the biggest manufacturers of anti-riot vehicles and equipment such as shields, armors and helmets. The company has customers around the world, including in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. Its website has pictures of its representatives attending various military and police exhibitions, including the 2009 Iraq Reconstruction exhibition and two exhibitions in Brazil in 2007 and 2009.
According to online B2B marketplace ExportHub, DES was founded with a capital of around $100 million and has more than 300 employees. Its biggest customers are Britain, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Chile. The official website of the company lists its main markets as Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East. Its CEO is Jinming Wang.
There are reports that a number of DES-516B vehicles made by DES were imported by Iran through the port of Bandar Abbas in late 2010. In February 2010, Wired Magazine, quoting eyewitnesses, reported that these vehicles were used to suppress protests.
Hatsan Arms Manufacturer
Hatsan is a Turkish arms manufacturer that produces a variety of shotguns and air guns. It was founded in 1976 in the Turkish port city of Izmir and currently has more than 600 employees and a gross sale of more than $130 million. It exports its products to around 106 countries. Its Escort MPA-TS shotgun look exactly like shotguns used by Iranian security forces against protesters.
Hatsan was founded by Abdullah Tasyagan and his son Bahtiyar is the chairman of its board of directors.
In 2015, a Facebook page called Iran-Hatsan Airguns that claims to belong to the representative of Hatsan air guns in Iran published a picture of Bahtiyar Tasyagan, who wrote in a post that he was going to visit Iran soon.
As of now, Hatsan has not responded to an inquiry sent by IranWire about its sales to Iranian security forces.
Akkar Arms Manufacturing Co
Akkar Silah Sanayi Co was founded in 2006 in Istanbul as a manufacturer of hunting rifles. From 2013 it started producing other firearms including pump-action and gas-operated, semi-automatic shotguns. Akkar has around 170 employees and in 2021 it reported that it has increased its profits by 33 percent and its assets by 40 percent. The owner and CEO of this company is Mehmet Akdal.
Akkar manufactures a variety of shotgun models, including the Karatay, Altay, Poseidon, Komanchi, Apache and Komanchi. A promotional video made by the Iranian Police Special Units shows a shotgun on which “Karatay” is clearly visible. Pictures from Iranian security agents shows them carrying a shotgun that closely resembles the Karatay 612 HD model.
Akkar Silah Sanayi, has not answered IranWire’s request for information.
Deqing Fox Armor Co
The Chinese company Deqing Fox Armor Co manufactures various anti-riot equipment, from armors and helmets to batons and pepper spray. This company has a Persian-language website.
Some have mistakenly said on social media its pepper spray NATO was a U.S. product because of the words “American Style” writer on the canisters.
Imen Sanat Zaman-Fara Co
Imen Sanat Zaman-Fara, founded in 2010, is an Iranian private company that manufactures security equipment. Mohammad Zandi Aliabadi and Hossein Zandi Aliabadi are the current chairman and vice chairman of its board of directors, respectively. Its CEO has been Fatemeh Haghshenas since 2013.
This company produces police vehicles, armored cash transport trucks, telecommunication towers, elevators, safes and secure rooms.
Imen Sanat Zaman-Fara represents Selcom for manufacturing elevator parts and Slovak Troliga Bus Company for producing and assembling buses, but a major portion of this company’s projects are related to equipment for the police and military, including armored vehicles Fateq and Rateq, bulletproof vests and shields and even automatic grenade launchers.
Fateq has been extensively used by the Iranian riot police. Pictures from Tabriz, capital of East Azerbaijan province, show two of them trying to run over protesters.
Entebagh Gostar Sepehr Co
Entebagh Gostar Sepehr Co provides sniper guns and all sorts of riot control equipment such as bulletproof outfits, handcuffs and batons. It also offers a variety of sights for sniper guns.
Gholamreza Ramezanian Sani is the CEO of this company and Seyed Reza Ghasemi the chairman of its board of directors. Ramezanian is also a shareholder and a member of the board of directors of Mahan Superstructure Co, which is specialized in building explosions and fire-resistant structures. Ghasemi is the chairman, vice chairman and member of the boards of directors of many companies, including Arvand Communication Industries, Anzali Free Trade Zone Electronic Industries, Fater Ryan Technologies, Negarin Asian Industries and Rayan Laser Testing.
Naji Pas Co
Since 2003, Naji Pas Company has organized the Police, Safety, and Security Equipment Exhibition (IPAS) in Tehran. The company defines itself as a provider of pretty much everything that law-enforcement needs and orders from both domestic and foreign suppliers.
The website of Iran’s Commercial Companies Information Bank says it has received 9.7 million euros at the low official price from the government. The Police Cooperative Foundation, which has a representative on Naji Pars’ board of directors, was sanctioned by the United States in 2020. It seems that the Iranian government is trying to use private companies to bypass sanctions that have hit most state-owned companies involved in the supply of equipment to security forces.
The current CEO of Naji Pas is Reza Asgharian. Mohammad Hossein Mirzaye Kashani is the chairman of the board of directors and Khosro Ahmadvand is his deputy. This company is an affiliate of the Police Cooperative Foundation. Representatives from Tavan Pouya Investment, Najm Middle East Chain Stores and Naji Research and Development are members of the board of directors.
“More than 95 percent of the country’s security equipment are provided by private companies,” Naji Pas’ CEO Reza Asgharian told the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) on October 20 at the height of the widespread protests triggered by Amini’s the death.