US Student Banned from Buying Apple IPad After Overheard Speaking the Iranian Language
≠An American born woman with Iranian parents was barred from buying an Apple iPad in a US store after one of the Apple salespeople heard her speaking in Farsi, the Iranian language.
The salesperson cited the US ban on exports of high technology goods to Iran.
Although an American citizen, Sahar Sabet, 19 still speaks in Farsi (sometime preferred to be known as Persian) with her uncle and was discussing the purchase in the Apple store in Atlanta, Georgia when she was overheard by a salesperson, who asked what language she was speaking.
Upon being told it was the Iranian language, the salesman then said that he could not sell her the iPad due to the US embargo on Iran. The store manage backed the salesman's decision. Apple's head office suggested that she make the purchase online to avoid dealing with sales staff.
She called Atlanta's television news station WSB-TV to complain about her treatment, and has sparked a debate about whether a technology company can sell goods to a US citizen who just happens to have an Iranian relative.
Apple is not banned from selling items to American-Iranian citizens, but could be held liable if it is found to have sold prohibited items knowing that they were to be exported to a sanctioned country.
Apple itself says that it does not discriminate against customers, while activists have protested outside several branches against presumed racial profiling by staff.
In a statement, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said that it agreed with those who noted that not selling embargoed merchandise to Farsi speakers would be like not selling the same items to Spanish speakers because they might be from Cuba or Korean speakers because they might be from North Korea.
On the web: WSB-TV