Apple gear breaks Iranian sanctions

While Apple store staff in the US adopt a “don’t sell gear to people who look Iranian” policy, it seems that Iran is getting its paws on the toys anyway.

Reuters popped into an Iranian Mac store in Tehran and found all the latest Apple gear – the new iPad, iPhones, iPods, laptops, and all-in-one desktops.

Apple is forbidden to export to Iran, but RadanMac is one of an estimated 100 stores in the Iranian capital that openly sells Apple products, often at a little more than US prices.

Majid Tavassoli, the store’s owner said that business has been booming over the last three years.

His shop makes business sales to the Central Bank of Iran, state television channels, newspapers and design professionals.

Iranian merchants have centuries of experience dealing with trade restrictions and source the gear through underground trade routes in the Middle East.

What is interesting is that they sell Apple’s Walled Garden of Delights which means all the Iranian customers buy music, videos and software via its iTunes and App Store online services. It is surprising that neither Apple, nor US officials have noticed.

Iranians register Apple accounts with randomly-chosen addresses outside the country and use foreign gift-cards to pay for purchases.

Because Apple theoretically is not allowed in Iran, it has allowed lots of copy cat outfits to set up using Apple marketing images. One outfit called Apple Iran has a website that matches Apple’s own.

Apparently Iran’s state broadcasting network is based around 1,000 editors using Macs.