Date: Friday, August 12th, 2016, 07:07
Category: iPhone, News, retail
It looks like the iPhone may finally be coming to Iran.
The local media has reported that Iran is preparing to allow local retailers to import iPhones legally for the first time. Just last month, the country was threatening to ban the devices in what it was calling an anti-smuggling move. All that threat did in turn, however, was drive up the price of iPhones already in the country and actually increase smuggling.
The nation’s trade industry has requested licenses from the Traded Promoted Organization and requested licenses for nine Iranian companies to import the iPhone. Apple does not have any kind of presence within Iran itself, so this is a bit strange.
Iran is preparing to allow local companies to import iPhones for the first time to try to curb the huge market in smuggled Apple products, state media reported Thursday. The trade ministry has requested licences from the country’s Trade Promotion Organisation for nine Iranian companies to import iPhones, according to the Tasnim news agency. Unofficial Apple stores are common in Tehran’s upmarket malls, and many of the country’s young and wealthy population carry the latest models of iPhone.
Phones have been smuggled into the country for years with the government largely ignoring the problem. The government’s original plan was apparently to ban the import and use of iPhones and focus on registering phones that were legally in the country. With the legalization of importing iPhones, however, Iran will now be able to register all mobile phones for the first time.
To make the issue a bit more confusing, it’s unknown as to how sales will be affected by the long-standing U.N. sanctions against Iran, which means that U.S. companies have limited capacity to sell in that market. As of last year, Apple apparently began discussions with Iranian distributors hoping to ease sanctions over time.
Whether or not the decision to allow the importing of iPhones is a sign of easing regulations remain to be seen. Apple has not recently commented on its efforts in the country.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.