Despite sanctions, Apple sales in Iran boom

Despite a US export ban, gadgets from popular US companies like Apple are making their way into Iran, Reuters has reported.

About 100 stores in the Middle Eastern country are selling Apple products, the news service found.

Computer equipment often makes it to Iranian merchants through underground trade routes throughout the region. Customers, meanwhile, access iTunes and the App Store to download music, videos, and apps through email addresses registered outside Iran and with foreign gift cards.

"Iran's booming Apple business underscores the limitations of economic sanctions by the United States and other countries," Reuters said.

US companies are forbidden from selling goods or services to Iran without special authorisation. The restrictions focus on the country's banks and oil industry, in an effort to curb Iran's nuclear program.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the company's sales policies, Apple products "are subject to US and foreign export control laws and regulations and must be purchased, sold, exported, re-exported, transferred, and used in compliance with such export laws and regulations."

According to Reuters, some of these Apple re-sellers have been affected by recent sanctions, with merchants relying mostly on the purchases from creative types - musicians, film editors, and photographers - to keep them afloat.