Apple Stores in Atlanta Refuse to Sell iPads to U.S.-Born Iranian-Americans
Monday, June 25, 2012
On at least two occasions, the Apple Store in Alpharetta, Georgia, refused to sell iPads and other products to Iranian-Americans, citing U.S. government policy.
In both cases, the shoppers were speaking Farsi, which alarmed sales representatives. When the customers, including 19-year-old college student Sahar Sabet, were prevented from buying an iPad, the store manager showed them a copy of Apple’s policy.
That policy states the company refuses to export, sell or supply goods from the U.S. to Iran, in compliance with the trade embargo that’s been in place against the country. However, in reality, U.S. sanctions do not apply to products sold to Americans or to non-citizens intending to use a product only inside the United States.
Sabet called Apple’s corporate customer relations to complain. A representative apologized for what happened in Georgia and said she could buy the iPad online.
Zack Jafarzadeh, a young Iranian-American who had a similar experience at a different Atlanta Apple store, told WSB-TV, “I would say if you're trying to buy an iPhone, don't tell them anything about Iran.”
Organizations representing Iranian-Americans, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the National Iranian American Council, have asked Apple to review its policies regarding sales to people from Iran.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, iPads and other Apple products are readily available in Iran. One salesman told Agence France-Presse, “All Apple products are smuggled into Iran. Before, it was mainly from Dubai and European countries, but now we can get all we need from Iraq.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Customer: Apple Store Denied Me iPad for Speaking Farsi (by Amy Napier Viteri, WSB-TV)
Are Iranians Banned from Buying iPads? (by Sam Farzaneh, BBC News)
Apple Vendors in Iran Scoff at US Sanctions (Agence France-Presse)
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