Despite the export restrictions to Iran, the iPhone and iPad are incredibly popular there.
A salesman told Agence France-Press (AFP) that he had sold 40 iPhones in one day and claimed that practically everyone in Tehran owns an iOS device.
He revealed that Apple’s products are smuggled into Iran through Iraq.
It would seem that it is easier for Iranians to buy an iPhone in Iran than in the US. A Farsi-speaking customer was apparently turned away from an Apple Store in Georgia recently for trying to buy an iPad for a cousin in Iran. The Apple Store employee refused to sell the iPad to the woman after she confirmed that she was “from Iran”, citing US export regulations.
In another similar case a customer was turned away from an Apple Store in Georgia, according to reports.
Apple issued a statement to Al Jazeera, who picked up the story, saying: “Our retail stores are proud to serve customers from around the world of every ethnicity. Our teams are multilingual, and diversity is an important part of our culture. We don’t discriminate against anyone.”
There was speculation that the reason Apple refused to sell goods to these customers was because it was presumed that the customers would export the goods to Iran, where there are import restrictions. Such customers would be able to take the goods into Iran, but they would need a license, according to the US State Department.
Other countries that have similar import-export restrictions are: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.