Apple Inc. Aiming To Tap Huge New Market In Iran

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The official signing of a deal between the U.S. and Iran should lead to the lifting of economic sanctions which benefit Apple and other U.S. companies.

After 20 months of negotiations, a deal on Iran’s nuclear program could see the country become a huge new market for foreign companies and investment, writes Buster Hein for Cult of Mac. And Apple is already preparing its entrance, according to a new report.

Apple contacts potential Iranian partners

The Wall Street Journal cites “people familiar with the matter” who say that Apple has already made contact with Iranian distributors. Cupertino is not alone in making plans for Iran, as General Electric is also apparently interested in the new market.

As it stands Apple’s presence in the Middle East is nowhere near as heavy as in other regions of the world, but that may be about to change. Data shows that Iran’s 80 million population are favorable towards Western brands, and while only 11 million have mobile internet access, 53% of the population has broadband.

Despite the economic sanctions, some U.S.-based companies were able to do business with Iran. Since last year, Boeing has been selling aircraft manuals and charts, while Iranians have been able to enjoy Coca-Cola’s sodas for almost 20 years, thanks to a special license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Lifting of sanctions dependent on Iran

The opening of Iran to other companies is reliant on Tehran’s implementation of the deal, which means U.S. and European businesses may only be able to enter Iran early next year. The deal also contains a so-called “snapback” clause which means that sanctions will be immediately reimposed should Iran renege on its promises.

Many European businesses only left the country in recent years as EU sanctions became stricter. With pre-existing business relationships in place, European companies stand to benefit faster than U.S. firms should sanctions be lifted.

Companies from a variety of sectors are excited by the potential market offered by Iran’s large population, while oil companies may also stand to benefit from Iran’s desire to start pumping oil again, and their need for Western technology to make the process as efficient as possible.

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