Apple Store Turns Down Customer Speaking Farsi

Refuses to sell iPad because of sanctions on Iran


WSBTV: An Alpharetta woman and one of her friends say the Apple Store turned them away after they heard them speaking Farsi. One was trying to buy an iPad, the other an iPhone. When they were heard speaking the foreign language, they said the sales representative refused to sell them anything. Apple says it's simply following U.S. policy.

"Very hurtful, very embarrassing. I actually walked out in tears," Sahar Sabet said about the experience. Sabet is a U.S. citizen. Like most 19-year-olds, the University of Georgia student is never far from her iPhone. So she was surprised Thursday when an employee at the Apple Store inside North Pointe Mall in Alpharetta refused to sell an iPad to her and her uncle after overhearing them speaking Farsi.

"When we said 'Farsi, I'm from Iran,' he said, 'I just can't sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations,'" Sabet said. "I would say if you're trying to buy an iPhone, don't tell them anything about Iran. That would be your best bet," said Zack Jafarzadeh, who had a similar experience at the Apple Store in Perimeter Mall.

Jafarzadeh said he was helping a friend buy an iPhone. That friend was from Iran, living and studying in the Atlanta area on a visa. "We never talked about him going back to Iran or anything like that. He was just speaking full-fledged Farsi and the representative came back and denied our sale," Jafarzadeh said.

Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri went with Sabet to the North Point Apple Store Monday. They obtained iPhone video of the same employee repeating the policy. He reiterated (the policy) always will be to not sell to anyone from Iran. A manager showed Viteri Apple's policy. It said the exportation, sale or supply from the U.S. to Iran of any Apple goods is strictly prohibited without authorization by the U.S. government. The manager also told Viteri they have to rely on customers to be honest.

"Discrimination. Racially profiled. He didn't have any business asking me what country I was from," Sabet said >>>




What Iranians in the US must do without in the future

by MeyBokhor_Manbarbesuzan on

What Iranians in the US should be prepared to do without in the future:

1. Computers having CPUs faster than 80286.

2. Software using GUI.

3. Smart phones smarter than Americans.

4. Books teaching them to be smarter than Americans.

5. Cars with ECUs or any other abbreviations.

6. Medicine brands Americans cannot spell or pronounce.

7. Movies and TV series not made by Donald Bellisario or other refined racists

8. Persian carpets without the "pledge of allegiance" inter-woven in them.


Dr. Mohandes


by Dr. Mohandes on

If in fact she did this deliberately which i doubt that was the case, since the odds of you or anyone running into a racist clerk who is waiting for her moment to shine is really dim, The most that can and should happen is a reprimand, cut in pay. Most likely she did not thorougly understood the company policy and hence the fuck up Big deal. They will get over it.

I am not sure i agree with everything that you said about how things used to be in iran. But that is another Long blog.

you are right , it is no one's buisness what city you are from if indeed you are a naturalized US citizen, But admit that there is a difference specially for those of us who moved and migrated to the states, between being from a city and living there.



and for the record

by Fesenjoon2 on

I've seen more stereotyping Iran-haters up in the North than in the South. The South is a beautiful place to live, and Atlanta is a gorgeous city. 

My point: Jackasses are everywhere. 



PAAIA's failure to respond

by Kabriat on

Its ridiculous this happened.  It's even more ridiculous that some Iranian-American organizations haven't even responded to this abuse.


The land of freedom and true democracy..

by Bahram_Bukhara on

Southern evangelists are very much involved in politics, but for very wrong reasons. Always ready to 'uphold' their country's policy when it comes to hating 'foreign enemies' and everything that relates to them, but couldn't care less (or, more likely don't have intellectual capacity to understand) that the counry's policy is controlled by AIPAC and that stupid morons like themselves are only useful to be sent to wars for the sake of AIPAC and are otherwise unimportant and aren't really deciding anything in their own country.   

I can never EVER EVER EVER imagine an Iranian merchant denying a sale to an American customer just because he is American. That shows the difference between an American of any rank and even the very lowliest, uneducated Iranian peasant.


Dr Mohandes 2/3

by Fesenjoon2 on

Whats interesting to me though, is that Yahoo News is reporting that she admitted saying "the  iPad was to be a gift for a cousin living in Iran."

If that's the case, then that WOULD rightfully complicate things, if she declared that in the store. 


Dr Mohandes 1/3

by Fesenjoon2 on

It doesnt make a difference dude.

Either the Apple store clerk deliberately played that card because he was a racist, or, he had no frinkin clue that the Apple company policy is not talking about ethnicity, but rather nationals of Iran representing I.R.Iran taking their products back to Iran (under the context of trade sanctions).

There's no dispute that the Atlanta Apple stores f*cked up there. My point, however, was that Iranian Americans play(ed) it stupid too: It was no legal business of the Apple store idiot to ask what language they were speaking. All the girl and her mother had to say to avoid his ploy was to reply  "We're Americans and we're not exporting anything". THAT'S ALL IT TOOK. If youre a US citizen (by birth or naturalized), it's nobody's business "where youre from" (no matter how you define one's point of origin or birthplace or allegiance).


has Archbishop Desmond Tutu been notified of this tragedy ?

by bushtheliberator on

The UN ? The International Criminal Court ? Maybe you can sue Apple, and collect big-time ! Are you suffering with nightmares ?

And ... here in the South you should NEVER let anyone know you're from IRAN..We're all packing heat. and we're still pissed off about that "Death to America" thing.


Dr. Mohandes

Fesenjoon2 jan

by Dr. Mohandes on

No she did not .

It really does not make sense to say you are from "around here" or some other town within the states when the fact is that what you really are doing is LIVING there and not From there. There is a big difference with the exception being that you actually been bron in the city or town you say you are from. Even if you are a super duper mr. Patriot , iranian I-am-an-american citizen.

I think you are mixing two topics here and just could not wait to jump into your favorite subject of slapping around iranians a bit?:)))

Seriously, saying what city you live in and swearing by it and wearing it on your sleeves does not suggest anything about where your alliegences truly lie. It is all about what is in your heart. You could say I am a meshedi but my heart belongs to Hachahdoocha, Tennesseee!!! 



by CallmeRed on

I agree....very well said.


Bavafaye Aziz

by jirandoust on

You have never lived in the south or been subjected to southern "hospitality", have you? So please don't come on this site and patronize people with your hollier than thou tone of voice/keyboard try to show us how wrong we are to react to this pure act of bigotry.

This is not the time for self critisism. what happened in Apple store, if not stopped could happen to any of us next time we are shopping for ipad or mopad or notepad. This is totally unacceptable by any statndard, regardless of how people on this site react to the event.

Again, the bastards must be exposed and stopped so next time we go shopping we are not subjected to this kind of discriminations or degradations by our friendly neighborhood shop clerk. And lawsuite is the best way to achieve that. 


This incident has reveal more about few of us on IC….

by Bavafa on

Than the clerk or Apple as a company. Some of the noteworthy remarks

  •           How we show are contempt for the act of prejiduce by being prejudicial towards Southerners
  •           How they should be helped to return to the country of origin simply for practicing their native languge
  •           How stupid it is to say you are from Iran if you reside in Cleveland (talk about changing color)

 And the grand prize ought to go to I LOVE Israel as the comment speaks for itself.


'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 




by sobh on

It is interesting how the right wing folks would try anything to justify the totally unacceptable behavior of an Apple employee. As one comment in the web correctly reads:"Do they question all the Spanish speaking customers to make sure they are not from Cuba? Total discrimination - "

Also an interesting observation is that there is no sign of the usual right wing commentators here, a.k.a, Fred and alike.


Senior Raoul

by jirandoust on

I will kick your butt next time I see you speaking spanish. There are millions of hispanic people live in the U.S who after living here for god knows how many years, still can not speak a word of English. and you are talking about assimilation? You never cease to amaze me with your stupid remarks!

As for these stupid Apple clerks in hick state of Georgia, they are nothing but a bunch of backword hillbillies who are hiding behind this so called company "policy" to just simply be what they really are: bunch of hillbilly bigot pricks. They convinently misinterpert a section of  the sanction rules banning IRAN from receiving Apple products and apply it to American citizens of Iranian decsends just to justify their bigotry. This is absolutely unacceptable!

I'd say sue the SOB's...sue the heck out of Apple and those stupid hicks in that store!!!


A simple "I Love Israel" to the salesman would have avoided all


this unnecessary headaches and the young lady would have walked home with her favorite Apple ipad!

Iran Love Israel!


she gave a stupid answer

by Fesenjoon2 on

When somebody asks you "where are you from?", you should firmly reply "I'm from Cleveland" or "I'm from Dallas, Texas". You dont say something stupid like "I'm from Iran", unless you really are from Iran. Are you not a US citizen???

If she had said, "we're from North Carolina" or whatever (at the very begining), that would automatically have ended everything right then and there (and the Farsi speaking would have become irrelevant).

Bottom line: If youre American, THEN SAY IT!! Otherwise, stop whining about the consequences of representing a f*cked up country that wants to "plant the flag of Islam all over the planet". What did you expect in return for this? A red i-carpet? Or maybe an i-ghorboon-o-sadagheh? 


This doesn't make sense

by KingReza on

Selling your products to Iran is not the same as selling your product to a person who speaks Farsi in your store. Something here doesn't add up.

Either the apple Genius was an idiot/ racist/ both or  the person purchasing the product had something to do with the Iranian government and was on a do not sell list, which in all honesty sounds ridiculous.

Apple is pretty clear on where it stands on most things so I would suggest for this person to follow up on it with Apple and see what the fuss was all about.

On a completely different note, most of the comments posted here makes me ashamed of being Iranian. 




Everybody has their

by fidelio5 on

prejudices. EVERYONE.

No matter how enlightened or progressive you think
you are a fallible human being, an imperfectly evolved primate.

you have prejudices.

now we should all TRY and overcome them. And i try.

But I still cant stand most southerners and I cringe when I hear country music ;) Blah!!!


How about Korean or Spanish speaking customers?

by MM on

The ban also applies to N. Korea and Cuba, as the announcer mentioned.  Do the salespeople question Spanish and Korean speaking customers?

If you watch the video fully, you would know that the said Iranians went to the second Local Apple store, explained the situation, and the store manager apologyzed and sold them the iPad they wanted.

To me, this sounds like a misinformed salesperson in the first store wanting to cover his a$$.  



Dear RB: Could not agree more …

by Bavafa on

And thanks for clarifying your meaning.


The example of [not] living Iran under IRI is a great case, in my opinion, mainly because there is no [real] means of expressing yourself and hope of changing the system.


Also, let me finish by saying how unfortunate it is to read some of the comments here that is nothing but ugly and prejudicial about folks in the South.  Condemning prejudice by being prejudicial.



'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 



 Dear Anahid: I could not

by vildemose on

 Dear Anahid: I could not agree more. This is much ado about nothing.


All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


Mehrdad jaan

by Reality-Bites on

I wasn't trying to prescribe anything. And you're quite right, one does not have to agree 100% with the policies of the country in which one chooses to live.

However, sometimes there are policies which one finds so outrageous/unacceptable/ unjust (call it what you will), that one finds impossible to live under. I guess that is why many of us including myself cannot live under the Islamic Repuplic.

And it was really just an observation on my part that even though many of us are so vehemently against the sanactions on Iran (and as it happens, I'm against them too), so much so that we are outraged when individual Iranians are treated like this, we find no conflict of interest in living in a country whose policies we find so reprehensible towards our mother land.

How come?

Anahid Hojjati

the real concern of the employee should be addressed

by Anahid Hojjati on

This employee must have been concerned that Apple product will get to Iran. So if these customers are Iranians buying product for use in US (or any other place besides Iran) they should have educated this employee. All of us who have lived in US have faced discrimination. Contrary to some comments, this ignorance does not happen only in south and midwest. Even in progressive cities like Seattle and Portland, one encounters ignorance because in US people from places like Eastern Washington and Idaho and Utah move to cities like Seattle to work, so don't get into some false sense that if you live in a progressive city, you won't encounter discrimination once in a while.  Also Iranians face most discrimination in Iran. As a twenty year old in Iran in early 1980s, I faced most discrimination I have ever faced in my life.

As far as discrimination in US and other western countries, those of us who have faced it, we have dealt with it ourselves, we did not ask NIAC or any other organization to campaign for us. Even jews that I worked with complained to me that they were discriminated. They did not ask some jewish organization to solve it for them. People are supposed to be able to speak up for themselves and use the laws of the country to their advantage. 


Farmarz jaan: Fictional stuff…

by Bavafa on

You are good at, keep them coming and you have me as one of your fans in that regard.


'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 


Dr. Mohandes

Oh the Nerve

by Dr. Mohandes on

"most" iranians have to jump at any opportunity to express so vividly their deep xenophobic tendencies. Time to give it up. You live in a land the BELONGS to ALL americans, of which most speak with southern sweet accent and they happen to be the kindest and hospitable ones. Unless of course someone decides to pull irooni bazi and do them wrong. which is not that rare.

I mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone here, but Can you imagine the inconveniece of the number of times any native american, at any given time and any location must endure and put up with the poorly disguised accent of some eeeraaneean dude or dudette? Can you imagine how many times they have to cringe when that happens?

Like many of you, i think what this clerk did, in a very clerkish kind of way was so out of line and out of place, and for that i blame the company and not the person and most certainly not accent with which these dear customers were spoken to! 

But to some extent i tend to agree with soosan khnaoom on the identical sanctionish! policies. Sure why not! in fact let's even take a survey and pick out those who are strongly in favor of these policies, and bombard them with similar decisions and policies. see how it feeelzzz ven dees happenzzz to dem!! eh my funt changed ageyn! eye hate deees. 



by Faramarz on



I think you should double the monthly allowance that you send to Trita and NIAC!

I am still waiting for Bahmani's expose of the organization. Or maybe I should write one of my own fictional stories! I think that I have a good sense of what's going on there.


Faramarz: you ought to have learnt by now…

by Bavafa on

NIAC and yes Trita as its president, have in fact picked up on initiatives when the interest of Iranians and Iranian-Americans were unjustly undermined in USA and worked to bring those cases to the attention.  They may not acted as fast as you or many of us would like them but unlike other groups, they have acted and been successful in some of the cases.

  Perhaps they are smarter than we are and wait to get more details before jumping gun. But don’t be surprised if they do this time around as well as in the past.


'Hambastegi' is the main key to victory 



A Simple Fact

by ayatoilet1 on

Farsi (or close variations to it Tajiki and Dari) is lingua franca (that means commonly spoken and written) by something like 150 Million people in Central Asia and beyond - not just those living in Iran.

The simple fact that someone utters a persian word - does not make them Iranian - unless a store clerk decides to define Iran as "A Greater Nation" i.e. include Tajikestan and Afghanistan in the clerk's definition. In which case - he knows something Iranians do not know.

My hope, certainly, is that a greater "central asian union" is one day a the European Union. But that will only happen when Iranians are designing their own versions of computers and phones and exporting it to the rest of the world - instead of doing it for these giant firms and working like slaves for these same firms here.  i.e. when we Iranians, decide finally have the opportunity for self-determination!

For now we have to accept they hate Iranians ...and will use every opportunity to humilate Iranians.


true bitter/funny similar stories

by CallmeRed on

last summer, when I was in Iran, I wanted to make a credit payment on my Chase bank account, as soon as I logged in- I was kicked out and the account got blocked - with a note saying : "because of the sanctions, you can't have access to your bank account from Iran"!!

then, I tried to renew my Norton Anti-virus, and guess what, the same sh** happened. it said you can't renew your account in Iran, because of the sanctions on Iran-

Then, I had to send some important documents via DHL. again, same thing!! they said DHL wouldn't send anything to USA or Canada! I asked:" what am I supposed to do?" they said,you can try TNT. went to TNT, paid $70 and then signed an agreement saying if documents are lost or anything happens, TNT wouldn't be responsible and I can't get my money back!!!!

When I was back to NYC, I was in Apple store one day, I saw a few IRI people with body guards in there!!!! 

VERY INTERESTING. apparently, sanctions are on poor people, not the government!!


Where is Trita when you need him!

by Faramarz on



You see, if the person who was denied the purchase was African-American, NAACP and Al Sharpton would be picketing the store by now. If he was Jewish, ADL and JDL would be all over it. If he was Arab, CAIR would have been on CNN complaining. If he was Hispanic, La Raza would have gone on Univision and made the point.

But the self-appointed "representative" of the Iranian-American community is missing-in-action and busy peddling business for the Regime and the US oil companies.

Where is that petition? My fingers are itching!