In the conversations, the Cupertino, Calif., company explored the possibility of having Iranian partners sell Apple products at so-called premium resellers, three of the people said. Instead of company-operated Apple stores, such outlets would be midsize franchisees that sell Apple products only, a model the company has used in Europe and Asia, the people said.
Apple would be allowed to export its iPhone to Iran because of a U.S. decision in May to lift sanctions that had barred the sale of consumer communications technologies in Iran.
The discussions so far have involved over a dozen Apple employees, including technical and marketing officials; however, Apple still faces many obstacles if it wishes to enter the country. Apple would first have to navigate different banging restrictions, and has reportedly consulted the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to assess how it could begin operations in Iran. Some talks discussed how to repair products purchased in Iran, or how Apple could send spare parts to have authorized repair center conduct the service.
Iran's 77 million people can serve as an attractive opportunity for Apple, and the iPhone is already a popular device in the country even though it is only sold through the black market. Despite tensions with the west, Iranian still embrace western brands and trends.