Ericsson revealed it was assessing reports in Iraq claiming work permits for its employees had been revoked in the wake of an ongoing diplomatic row between authorities in the country and the vendor’s home market of Sweden.
The vendor told Mobile World Live it is assessing the issue and potential impact for its employees and customers in the country.
Ericsson’s comments follow a widely covered report by the Iraqi News Agency claiming the vendor’s operating licence had been revoked by the head of the nation’s Media and Communications Commission, Ali Al-Moayyed.
Iraq’s apparent move is part of wider action against Swedish authorities and businesses following a diplomatic row between the pair, with Associated Press (AP) reporting Sweden’s ambassador had been ordered to leave.
The action follows a man in Sweden threatening to burn the Quran following similar incidents in the country which had not been stopped by police, AP asserted, with the planned incident sparking protests in Iraq.
In its statement, Ericsson noted the “safety of our people, partners, and customers is our top priority”, adding it had around 30 full-time employees in the country, and provided technical support and maintenance to mobile operators there.
“As a global company providing critical communication infrastructure in over 180 markets, we respect all cultures and religions, and we place great importance on respecting our customers and our employees, and the communities in which we operate.”
“It is deeply problematic when freedom of expression turns to alienation between different cultures or religions. The incidents in Sweden, involving the burning of the Holy Quran, is deeply offensive to the religious beliefs and values cherished by Muslims around the world. This act does not reflect Ericsson’s core value of respect.”