An odd story is emerging today, revealing that at least some Apple Stores are refusing to sell products to ethnically Persian people and claiming it is because of the US embargo on Iran.
The reports begin in Georgia, where a 19-year-old US citizen was barred from buying an iPad after she admitted her ethnicity to the clerk.
Apple’s website has the same generic “export compliance” page that most computer manufacturers do, noting that it is illegal to export certain technology to Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria without prior US government approval. Apparently this was the source of the employee’s reasoning that the sales weren’t allowed.
But of course that only applies to export, and not Iranians in the United States, and most certainly not random American citizens who happen to be ethnically Persian. The very same export page also provides a list of countries excluded from a ban on using Apple products to develop nuclear, chemical or biological weapons, with neither India, Pakistan nor Israel on the list. Yet can anyone imagine Apple refusing to sell computers to ethnically Indian people, or ethnically Pakistani people, or Jews using the same rationale?
Adding to the oddity, incidents were reported in more than one Georgia Apple Store, as well as one in Virginia. Apple corporate is simply refusing to comment, suggesting this may be, incredible as it may sound, their actual policy.