Iran is preparing to allow local companies to import iPhones for the first time to try to curb the huge market in smuggled Apple products. The trade ministry has requested licenses from the country’s Trade Promotion Organization for nine Iranian companies to import iPhones, according to the Tasnim News agency.
Unofficial Apple stores are common in Tehran’s upmarket malls, and many of the country’s young and wealthy population carry the latest models of the iPhone, according to Gulf News Retail. The government has largely turned a blind eye to the mass smuggling of phones and other Western goods, but Tasnim said there had been a crackdown in the past two months that had driven up smartphone prices, the article adds.
More than 40 million Iranians use smartphones, including millions of iPhones, which are often imported into the country by smugglers. A representative from the anti-smuggling office told Tasnim News that there’s no legal limitation to Apple registering a store in Iran.