Iran Stories September 11, 2015

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Siri causes laughter when it interrupts White House press briefing with the perfect commentary [Video]

We’ve all accidentally activated Siri at one time or other, but one journalist managed to do so at a particularly embarrassing time: while a question was being asked during a White House press briefing.

Siri did, though, manage a rather apt response to the question, which was about President Obama’s failure to persuade Republicans in Congress to sign an agreement about Iran.

I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you want me to change.

Via Business Insider

Iran Stories October 29, 2014

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is in early talks with “Iranian distributors” to bring the iPhone to Iran:

Apple Inc. is in preliminary contact with Iranian distributors about a possible entry into the country should Western sanctions ease sufficiently, people familiar with the matter said.

The report notes that financial and banking sanctions as well as political tension has thus far prevented companies like Apple from conducting business in Iran, but points to a policy change in May that lifted the ban on sales of “consumer communications technologies” in the country. The report goes on the claim that “senior Apple executives” have already met with “potential Iranian distributors” at Apple’s regional headquarters in London. expand full story

Iran Stories August 28, 2013

This morning, news is circulating regarding claims of a September iPad launch, gold iPhone 5S scratch tests, Apple products being allowed to be imported into Iran, and Apple potentially disrupting the way that mobile carriers work. Let’s take a look at each of these claims…

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The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

Iran Stories July 12, 2012

Report: NIAC director slams US Gov’t, Apple for racially profiling over export sanction to Iran

Do you remember last month’s report about select Apple retail stores in Georgia allegedly discriminating against Farsi-speaking customers due to a United States sanction export to Iran? Well, the story is still abuzz. The policy director at the National Iranian American Council, Jamal Abdi, even got some space in The New York Times today to speak his mind on the matter:

  • IMAGINE if your ethnicity determined which products you were able to buy. Or if sales clerks required you to divulge your ancestry before swiping your credit card.
  • Some of us don’t have to imagine.

Abdi reviewed the cases from last month, and he even cited similar situations in California:

  • An isolated episode could be dismissed as the work of one bigoted, or misguided, employee. But there have been other recent reports of Apple employees refusing to sell to customers of Iranian descent.
  • In Santa Monica, Calif., two friends looking to buy an iPhone were asked whether they were speaking Persian and promptly informed, “I am sorry, we don’t sell to Persians.” In Sacramento, an Iranian-American man looking to buy Apple products for personal use mentioned that he was also thinking about buying an iPod for his nephew in Iran and was told he could not buy anything, even for himself. An Iranian student in Atlanta, and his Iranian-American friend, were not permitted to buy an iPhone after the friend, under questioning, mentioned that the student planned to return to Iran for the summer.

The NIAC director attributed these occurrences to Apple retail employees being forced to “interpret and implement federal policy,” which results in racial profiling, he said:

  • At the moment, nearly all exports to Iran are prohibited. Traveling to Iran with items like computers and smartphones is illegal. Apple’s own policy, stated on its Web site, makes it very clear that its products can’t be sent there.
  • But it is also illegal in the United States for a private company to discriminate against individuals based on race, color, religion or national origin under the Civil Rights Act. This protection extends of course to retail stores.

Abdi concluded his editorial by calling for Congress and President Obama to confront the consequences of their “ratcheted up sanctions,” or else they will continue to threaten the “values and basic civil liberties of some American citizens.”

The issue comes down to the US Government vaguely forcing retailers to enforce sanctions when those should be enforced at borders.

Visit The New York Times for the entire piece, called “Sanctions at the Genius Bar”.

Iran Stories June 25, 2012

Iran’s Apple product vendors say iOS devices flourish in capital despite US sanction

Apple product vendors in Iran are laughing at reports from last week about U.S. Apple Store employees refusing sales to Farsi-speaking customers.

According to a weekend story from the Agence France-Presse (via MSN News), iPhones and iPads are widespread throughout Iran’s capital:

One salesman who gave only his first name, Hossein, told AFP that he had sold 40 iPhones the day before, and explained that prices for Apple items in Iran were only around $50-$60 more than in the United States.

Hossein explained it is easy for traders to workaround the export restriction. He said Apple’s highly coveted products are smuggled into Iran through Iraq. He also noted practically everyone in Tehran owns an iOS device, while other salesclerks claimed several shops are “dressed up to look like official Apple Stores.”

Despite the vendors’ jibes, and their claims about Iran’s unwavering access to the Cupertino goods, many questioned Apple’s treatment of Farsi-speaking U.S. customers, which bordered on racial profiling. An Apple Store in Georgia apparently refused to sell iOS devices to an Alpharetta woman and her uncle, because they spoke Farsi, a Persian-Iranian language, to each other. Another customer, Zack Jafarzadeh, apparently received the same treatment at a different Apple Store in Atlanta when he accompanied a fluent friend to buy an iPhone.

Sabet and Jafarzadeh asserted that the Apple Stores racially profiled Iranians and discriminated against them. They further said Apple’s policy is both confusing and inconsistent.

A representative for the U.S. State Department clarified there was no policy or law that prohibits Apple from selling products in the U.S. to anybody intending to use them stateside, including customers of Iranian descent or citizenship, but customers do need a license to take the “high-technology goods” to Iran.

Apparently, though, at least to a few vendors in Iran, that license is a joke.

Iran Stories June 19, 2012

UPDATE: On Tuesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and National Iranian American Council called upon Apple to change its policy and take appropriate steps to guarantee further enforcement of the policy will not impede on Iranian’s rights in the United States.

The press releases:

9to5Mac contacted Apple and the councils and will update again if they issue a comment. 

An Apple Store in Georgia apparently refused to sell iOS devices to an Alpharetta woman and her uncle, because they spoke Farsi to each other.

Sahar Sabet, 19, is a United States citizen and student at the University of Georgia. She and her uncle were recently shopping for an iPad and iPhone at an Apple Store in the North Pointe Mall. They were conversing in Farsi, a Persian-Iranian language, when an employee overheard them and asked what language they were speaking.

According to WSBTV, the woman answered, but then the Apple employee said, “I just can’t sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations.”

Another customer, Zack Jafarzadeh, apparently received the same treatment at a different Apple Store in the Perimeter Mall in Atlanta. He recently accompanied a friend who tried to buy an iPhone.

“We never talked about him going back to Iran or anything like that. He was just speaking full-fledged Farsi and the representative came back and denied our sale,” said Jafarzadeh to WSBTV. “I would say if you’re trying to buy an iPhone, don’t tell them anything about Iran. That would be your best bet.”

Sabet returned to the North Point Apple Store on Monday with WSBTV’s Amy Napier Viteri, and they caught the same employee describing an Apple policy on camera that allegedly prohibits the sale of products to Iranians. A manager even presented the duo with the policy, which said the exportation, sale, or supply of Apple products from U.S. to Iran is not allowed without prior authorization by the federal government. The manager explained Apple Stores have to “rely on customers to be honest.”

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