Economy, Business And Markets

Apple in Talks to Sell iPhone in Iran

Apple in Talks to Sell iPhone in IranApple in Talks to Sell iPhone in Iran

Almost one year after the US began to loosen sanctions on exports to Iran, Apple is reportedly in early stage talks with distributors to start official sales of its products in the country.

According to people familiar with the matter, senior Apple executives are courting prospective Iranian distributors at the company’s headquarters in London, paving the way for an official reseller network in Iran, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Apple’s entry into Iran is contingent on future diplomatic relations, but the company is making preparations in case of sanctions lift, sources said. The report notes other western businesses are doing the same, but many of those interested in getting in early are based in Europe, not America.

As for Apple, sources expected the company to rely on so-called “premium resellers” in its Iranian operations, not flagship Apple Stores. The business model would take after franchise-style outlets that deal only in Apple products, a strategy used in certain areas of Europe and Asia.

A move into Iran would not be unprecedented, at least in the smartphone sector, as a number of big-name Asian corporations are already selling their wares and have become well entrenched in the region.

In August of 2013, Apple announced it would begin selling products to customers who planned to take the devices into Iran. At the time, the US government had just lifted an export ban imposed as part of economic sanctions targeting Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Like many countries, Iran has an appetite for Apple devices. A report in 2013 noted business was booming for banned Apple products, with devices being funneled in through underground trade routes for massive profits.