The Sideshow

Iranian-American woman says Apple refused to sell her an iPad

Eric Pfeiffer
The Sideshow

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N.J. resident Jim Otun reads a dua from the Quran on his iPad (Rich Schultz/AP)

19-year-old Sahar Sabet says an Apple Store in Georgia refused to sell her an iPad after a store representative overheard her speaking in Farsi.

"Very hurtful, very embarrassing. I actually walked out in tears," Sabet told WSBTV about her experience.

When a reporter from the station returned to the same Apple Store with Sabet, the employee once again reiterated that it is Apple company policy to not sell products to anyone from Iran. The WSBTV reporter recorded video of the exchange on her phone.

Sabet is a U.S. citizen and a student at the University of Georgia but the iPad was to be a gift for a cousin living in Iran.

"When we said 'Farsi, I'm from Iran,' he said, 'I just can't sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations,'" Sabet said.

The employee showed them Apple's corporate policy on export sales, which reads:

PROHIBITED DESTINATIONS

The U.S. holds complete embargoes against Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria

The exportation, reexportation, sale or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a U.S. person wherever located, of any Apple goods, software, technology (including technical data), or services to any of these countries is strictly prohibited without prior authorization by the U.S. Government. This prohibition also applies to any Apple owned subsidiary or any subsidiary employee worldwide.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement after the incident, calling on Apple to change its corporate policy on sales to Iran.

"Apple must revise its policies to ensure that customers do not face discriminatory treatment based on their religion, ethnicity or national origin," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "If the actions of these Apple employees reflected company policy, that policy must be changed and all employees retrained."

Sabet says she later called Apple's corporate customer relations, where an employee reportedly apologized and told her she could buy an iPad online.

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