Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has announced that it will start shipping iOS devices and Mac computer to customers who intend to take them to Iran. The company said access to the market has been unlocked by regulatory changes from the U.S. Treasury Department.
Changes allow Apple to sell to Iran
Ian Sherr of The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration has been working to ease sanctions on products destined for Iran. For more than 20 years, companies like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) were barred from being able to ship technology products to customers in Iran. Apple said Tuesday that the Treasury Department’s May 30 decision covers most of its products.
The regulatory change enables U.S. residents to export technology products to individuals, although not to Iran’s government or associates of its government.
The role of technology in protests
By paving the way for these products to be taken to Iran, the Obama administration is trying to assist protesters. Technology products like those sold by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) can help protesters as they organize against government crackdowns. These products have made communication among activists in the Middle East much easier. They played a major role in the uprisings of 2009.
The Iranian government has often cracked down on the free flow of information through technology. The government frequently blocks major international news sites as well as Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Iran even took all of its citizens off the Internet entirely in an attempt to control the flow of information coming into the country.
Other embargos remain
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) said U.S. embargos on Syria, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba are still in effect, so it cannot export items destined for those countries, whether directly or by selling them to individuals or businesses which intend to take them to those countries.
Shares of Apple fell almost 3 percent during the regular trading day on Tuesday.