Apple is in talks to sell its iPhone smartphones in Iran, according to sources who spoke to The Wall Street Journal in an article published Wednesday.
Those close to the issue claim that the Cupertino, California, company is talking to distributors in Iran. Apple reportedly wants to move into the nation’s marketplace in the case harsh economic sanctions are loosened.

The United States has used sanctions against Iran as a punishment for Tehran’s persistence in building a nuclear program. In January, a deal between Iran and western powers caused the U.S. to drop some of the sanctions. However, restrictions that are still in place on Iranian banking institutions make setting up shop difficult for American businesses.

A decision in May by the U.S. to allow the sale of consumer communications technologies in Iran was especially important for Apple.
Iran’s population of almost 80 million must be attractive to Apple. More than 40 percent of Iranians are under 25, and the country has a relatively large middle class – something that must cause envy for an American company in 2014.

The sources speaking to paper say Apple would use distributors to sell products in Iran, not the single-brand Apple Stores that are popular in the U.S. This strategy is what the company pursues in Europe and Asia. According to the report, senior Apple executives have met with potential Iranian partners at the company’s regional headquarters in London.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, elected more than a year ago, promised a bright economic future by quickly negotiating a deal with the West about Tehran’s nuclear program.

As oil prices plummet, more and more Iranians are demanding that their government sign a deal that would remove sanctions that continue to shackle the country’s economy.

Apple declined to comments on the rumors.

Anadolu Agency