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Apple desperate to prevent nightmare scenario of iPad in Iranian hands

Power of 'slab too awesome to risk in sale to US citizen

Vid An Apple Store in the US state of Georgia refused to sell an iPad to an American teenager because she spoke the Iranian language Farsi in the store. A student in the nearby city of Atlanta was also banned from buying an iPhone for the same reason, according to a report by local TV channel WSBTV.

"I just can't sell this to you. Our countries have such bad relations," 19-year-old Sahar Sabet was told after she tried to buy an iPad in her local Apple Store. She had been talking with her uncle in Farsi.

Shabet, who is a US citizen and already owns an iPhone and Macbook, told the WSBTV reporter that she was shocked by the refusal:

"Very hurtful, very embarrassing. I actually walked out in tears."

The same Apple employee refused to sell an iPad to her a second time after she went into the store again with the TV crew: this time the manager showed them the Sales Policy which says that Apple products must not be sold for export to Iran, North Korea or other countries that the US has a trade embargo against. However, Shabet says she lives in America and has no intention of exporting the device.

"This policy relies on the customer being honest," the Apple employee said. The employee was from Iran, WSBTV said, which is why he was able to recognise the language as Farsi.

Shadet said it was "racial profiling".

Another customer, Zack Jafarzadeh, told the reporter that a different Apple Store, in an Atlanta mall, had also refused to sell him an iPhone. He was with a friend, a student on a visa from Iran, at the time. Jafarzadeh recommended: “I would say if you’re trying to buy an iPhone, don’t tell them anything about Iran. That would be your best bet.” ®

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