Apple Store Refuses To Sell To American Citizens Speaking Farsi In Case They Might Send iPhone To Iran

from the policy-is-policy dept

This is just bizarre. Apparently, an Iranian-born American citizen who was speaking Farsi was denied the ability to buy an iPad and an iPhone because store employees cited an Apple policy barring the export of Apple products to Iran.
Jafarzadeh, who is from Virginia, said no one asked him where the phone was going. The employee only questioned his ethnicity.

"I feel like this is a bit of racial profiling against Iranians and I'm appalled," Jafarzadeh said.
It certainly sounds like Apple might want to train some of its employees a bit better in understanding what "export" means. And maybe Apple employees should also be made aware of the fact that American citizens can speak Farsi.

Filed Under: apple store, farsi, ipad, iphone, iranian-american, virginia
Companies: apple


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  1. icon
    Josef Anvil (profile), 21 Jun 2012 @ 3:20am

    Right result, unsettling reason

    First of all, the sale being denied to the woman who was sending the iPad to Iran as a gift was in line with Apple policy. The matter of questioning the consumer about what she was going to do with her purchase based on the language she was speaking was definitely discriminatory, if that is how it happened.

    Second we come to the next guy being denied purchase because he was an Iranian speaking Farsi, coupled with an Apple employee misquoting the Apple policy. "He reiterated (the policy) always will be to not sell to anyone from Iran." That is not exactly the Apple policy, but the employee did make the lawfully correct decision. Again the reason for questioning the origin of the consumer is discriminatory.

    While it may be lawful and even prudent to not sell Apple products to Iranian citizens in the US, that does not mean that American citizens of Iranian descent are to be discriminated against unless they intend to export those products. That means that most Americans of Middle-Eastern descent face a lot of invasive questions when simply trying to purchase from Apple.

    Personally I do not have faith that the average Apple employee knows the difference between Farsi, Urdu, or any other Arabic or Indo-Persian dialect. That would imply that quite a lot of Americans of Middle-Eastern descent face unwarranted discrimination when shopping in an Apple store.

    The two cases cited in the original article were not discriminatory, but they do imply that there is a lot of discrimination that goes on in Apple stores before a purchase is allowed.

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