Apple announced it will begin selling Macs and iOS devices to customers headed to Iran.
Typically, it is forbidden for US companies to sell products destined for Iran because of long-lasting sanctions against the Middle Eastern country. But, in the name of human rights, the Obama administration recently eased those sanctions for tech gadgets.
“We have been told by the US government that most Apple products are covered by regulatory changes announced by the Treasury Department on May 30,” an Apple spokesperson told CNET. “As a result, Apple is no longer banned from selling Macs and iOS devices to customers who plan to bring those products to Iran.”
In May, the US government loosened sanctions that for more than two decades have prohibited companies from selling electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, and wireless routers to Iran. The move now allows US residents to export electronic equipment to individuals but not to the Iranian government or its associates. By easing sanctions on laptops and mobile devices, the US government believes it can help protesters and dissidents inside Iran.
“The people of Iran should be able to communicate and access information without being subject to reprisals by their government,” the Treasury Department said in a statement that also accused Iran’s government of “[attempting to] silence its people by cutting off their communication with each other and the rest of the world.”
Iran is known for cracking down on its citizens over the use of social networks, e-mail, and blogs. Throughout the last few years, the country’s government has blocked access to major international news sites, Google’s search engine, YouTube, and social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Several times last year, Iran even cut off access to the Internet.