Despite sanctions, Apple gear sales boom in Iran

“At its gleaming store, RadanMac offers the latest Apple gear – the new iPad, iPhones, iPods, laptops, all-in-one desktop computers and more,” Marcus George reports for Reuters.

“But this is no ordinary Apple store. It’s in Tehran, where Apple and other U.S. computer products are banned under U.S. sanctions that have been in place for years. Despite the embargo, RadanMac is one of an estimated 100 stores in the Iranian capital that openly sell Apple products, often at little more than U.S. prices,” George reports. “‘Business has been booming for the last three years,’ said Majid Tavassoli, the store’s owner, in a phone interview. He said his company employs more than 20 staffers and has been supplying Apple products to Iranian buyers since 1995. The company also has a servicing unit and a business sales arm whose clients have included the Central Bank of Iran, state television channels, newspapers and design professionals.”

George reports, “Iran’s booming Apple business underscores the limitations of economic sanctions by the United States and other countries. Washington and its allies have imposed sanctions in an attempt to curb Iran’s nuclear programme, which Tehran maintains is peaceful. U.S. companies are barred from selling any goods or services to Iran unless they obtain special authorization… But U.S. consumer products and computer equipment are another matter. Although they are banned, enterprising Iranian merchants continue to source them through underground trade routes in the Middle East and beyond.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Thermonuclear, indeed.


    1. …on the theory that when their government causes enough pain for them, the people will revolt against it. In the end analysis, the people are in charge, and if they don’t like what their government is doing, they have the duty to do something about it. In this case, their silence indicates their consent.

      1. In a perfect world where the most likely outcome for peacefully attempting to bring down despotic regimes wasn’t death, most people would probably be inclined to overthrow oppressive rulers.

        However, human nature and the instinct for survival pretty much insures that most people will go along with the status quo they (and their parents, and their parents’ parents, ad infinitum) have lived under their entire lives.

        In much of the world most people have lived under a steady change of oppressive regimes, one after another, with no idea of alternatives. The idea of an alternative to what they’ve lived under isn’t even in their concept of reality.

        It’s easy to be unrealistically idealistic when one has never spent a day or an hour, let alone their entire life, living under such circumstances.

        It’s quite another when you’ve lived your entire life under an alternative system, and then watched over the course of much of that life as your peers frittered away the freedom and liberty that your and their grandparent’s grandparents fought and died to establish and maintain.

        And do it all for the “common good” and “security”… the two most false gods of government and politics.

  1. I find it hard to believe the products are selling for “just above US prices”. Here in Saudi Arabia, where there are no sanctions, most Apple gear sells at a 30 – 40% above US retail. Because Apple doesn’t have an official presence here, most likely due to lax IP protection laws, products here are “grey- market”, meaning they’re sourced through unifficial channels. Usually, they’re purchased in the US or EU at full retail by a “holding company”, shipped here (where customs takes their cut, usually in a percentage if actual products), and resold at US retail price Customs costs markup, male among your average entry-level iPad sells for between $600 and $700. The only exception is typically the iPhone, which is sold officially here through several carriers.

    So I doubt it’s “just barely” over US retail in Iran, considering the risks involved, unless they’re calling a 50% markup “barely above”…

    1. As in Saudi Arabia, there’s no official presence (Apple Store) in Israel. All imports go through iDigital, an “exclusive distributor” which happens to be owned by President Peres’ son. After import duties, VAT and a little monopoly profiteering, prices there too are 30-40% above US retail.

      That may change at some point as Apple now has a different kind of presence there. After buying a local high-tech firm (Anobit) specializing in flash ram, Apple is assembling its own R&D facility there.

      Much of the Iranian smuggling, by the way, is handled by the IRGC – the Revolutionary Guard Corps – who are also running Iran’s nuclear and missile projects.

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