Apple is talks with Iranian distributors to potentially sell products in the country, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
The news comes after the US and five world powers signed a historic agreement with Iran, after nearly two years of negotiations, that will see Iran reduce the size of its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions on trade with Iran.
The second part is key because it will open the door to American companies that wish to sell products in the country.
Sanctions expert Sam Cutler, however, points out that Apple can technically sell iPhones and MacBooks in Iran already thanks to the General License D-1. That allows US companies to sell personal communication devices in Iran.
However, Apple won’t be able to open a presence in the country straight away. Iran actually has to implement the terms of the agreement before Western companies will be allowed in. The Wall Street Journal says that will be a long process that could stretch into 2016.
This isn’t the first time that Apple has thought about entering Iran. In 2014, WSJ reported that Apple was in touch with companies in Iran about launching there once sanctions are lifted. The Wall Street Journal said that senior Apple executives met with Iranian distributors in the company’s London office about a plan to launch Apple products in the country.
It’s unlikely that Apple is about to launch its own line of Apple Stores in Iran. Instead, it will probably choose to use resellers that only deal in Apple products. Apple can then take a cut of their profit, and it doesn’t run the risk of investing heavily in a country that could “snap back” into sanctions if it doesn’t keep to the terms of the agreement with the US.
By Business Insider