Iran Economy NewsApple eases restrictions on selling products headed to Iran

Apple eases restrictions on selling products headed to Iran

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Wall Street Journal: Apple Inc. said it would begin selling devices to customers who plan to bring them to Iran, following an effort by the Obama administration to loosen decades-old sanctions on the country.
The Wall Street Journal

By IAN SHERR

Apple Inc. said it would begin selling devices to customers who plan to bring them to Iran, following an effort by the Obama administration to loosen decades-old sanctions on the country.

Behind the U.S. government’s recent moves to ease sales of technology into Iran is an effort to thwart government crackdowns by spreading technology that helps protesters.

In a statement Tuesday, an Apple spokeswoman said a decision by the Treasury Department on May 30 allowed it to ease restrictions on trade with the country.

“We’ve been told by the U.S. government that most Apple products are covered by regulatory changes announced by the Treasury Department,” she said, referring to a decision to ease the restrictions on selling a broad array of communications equipment such as smartphones, laptops and computer software to Iran. “As a result, Apple is no longer banned from selling Macs and iOS devices to customers who plan to bring or send those products to Iran,” she said.

Text messaging, social networks and other communications technologies have played a central role helping activists in the Middle East, particularly during the uprisings in Iran in 2009.

A senior official told The Wall Street Journal in May that easing restrictions was in part reaction to how governments have since cracked down on protesters. “There’s been an increasing trend in their efforts in new and ever-more-complex and villainous ways to crack down on the free flow of information using sophisticated methods, and this is a response to their efforts,” the person said.

The latest moves allowed companies to begin selling communications technology to Iranian citizens, but not to the government or its affiliates.

Apple on its website says U.S. embargoes against Cuba, North Korea, Sudan and Syria continue to prohibit it from exporting, re-exporting or selling its devices to those countries.

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