How much responsibility for stopping illegal technology transfer do retail stores have?

Apple Store In Georgia Refuses To Sell iPad, iPhone To Farsi-Speaking Customer, Citing Company Policy
That was the headline for this story:

This topic might fit in with great debates, but it’s really fairly petty, so I put it in the Pit.

The article goes on to point out that it would be unlikely for the store to prohibit a Spanish speaking person from purchasing an IPad because the person might be Cuban.

So how is the store supposed to know? Should they be getting a signed statement from each purchaser that they won’t be transfering the technology to a prohibited country?

How come its only Apple products (and a few others) and not everything?

It seems to me that avoiding the embargo is simplicity itself - just pay a straw buyer. It’s done every day for firearms.

It makes sense to end silly embargos.

It’s a pointless exercise from a consumer outlet perspective. You refuse someone and they walk out the door, grab their smart-phone and orders it delivered to their door.

Ah, but then the alleged terrorist would have to give out his address.

This is not a very good analogy at all.

Spanish is spoken in many countries all over the world; Farsi is pretty much spoken only in Iran.


Not to mention the emigres across the world.

“The iPad was to be a gift for her cousin who lives in Iran.”

From the linked article on the issue that the Huff referred to. So it was intended to be sent overseas.


Otara mentions the best part. This girl is all pissed off because Apple refused her service, citing the Iran embargo, then she goes and admits her plan was to violate the embargo by sending the item to someone overseas.

I am in general agreement that embargoes, as a whole, are stupid, but that doesn’t mean one should brazenly violate them while publicizing the event.

Did you mean to put this in the Pit?

I don’t think enforcing the embargo at the retail level is practical or good business. Leave it to the shipping carriers.

Do we actually have a “complete” embargo with Iran? I know there’s a long list of forbidden exports and there’s sanctions against state-run industries, but is there anything that actually forbids a relatively benign transaction like selling an iPad to an individual Iranian?

didn’t Apple apologize for appearing to be a money grubbing heartless corporation and offer for her to buy it mail order?

i do recall that Apple products are weapons that can’t be exported, it is in their ads.