Speak Farsi? Apple Doesn’t Want Your Business (Video)


Be careful what language you use if you are planning on shopping in an Apple store.

Last week, two Apple store customers in Georgia were refused service after a sales representative overheard them speaking Farsi, the language of Iran.

Is this just out-and-out xenophobia, an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange? Sounds like it to me.

From ajc.com:

Sahar Sabet, a U.S. citizen and University of Georgia student, said an Apple Store employee at the North Point Mall in Alpharetta refused to sell her an iPad on Thursday after hearing her and her uncle talking.

“When we said, ‘Farsi, I’m from Iran,’ he said, ‘I just can’t sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations,’ ” Sabet told Channel 2.

A manager at the mall later showed Channel 2 Apple’s policy, which states that the exportation, sale or supply from the U.S. to Iran of any Apple goods is strictly prohibited without the U.S. government’s authorization. A State Department representative also told Channel 2 that it is illegal to travel to Iran with laptops or satellite cellphones without U.S. approval.

Since Sabet is a U.S. citizen with no plans to travel to Iran, this response makes no sense at all; it is quite simply racial profiling.

A similar incident happened to Zack Jafarzadeh, an American student of Iranian descent, who was denied service at a different Apple Store near Atlanta while trying to help a friend buy an iPhone.

The Sacramento Bee reports that in response, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) yesterday called on Apple to change its policy:

“Apple must revise its policies to ensure that customers do not face discriminatory treatment based on their religion, ethnicity or national origin,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “If the actions of these Apple employees reflected company policy, that policy must be changed and all employees retrained.”

Also included on the U.S. embargo list are Cuba and North Korea. Can I thus assume that if I am speaking Spanish or Korean in an Apple store, I will be refused service?

And why are some Americans so afraid of anyone who is not speaking English? As a world language teacher, I find that depressing.

What do you think?

You can get the full report here:

Photo Credit: screenshot from Channel2ActionNews


Robin H.
Robin H.6 years ago

@Steve R.

Despite all the blinkered, brainwashed buzzwords in your comment (and inappropriate punctuation), you have actually included the very definition of racial profiling: "personal dislike of a ... country." If somebody makes a decision based on their own personal view of somebody else's origin, what other definition would you give that situation, from your enlightened, non-bleeding heart vantage point? Please illuminate my mind.

@Donna B.

Actually, they made no mention of sending the item to Iran, she was with her Iranian cousin in the store, who was living and studying in the US on a visa, and she was helping her cousin buy the phone.

Which raises another issue... the fact that her cousin was issued a visa suggests that the US government is quite happy to deal with this person, and any "bad relations" between the US and Iran don't seem to be embodied in this particular individual.

Shirazeh T.
Shirazeh T.6 years ago

to the person who said, "if she's a US citizen, she's no longer an iranian citizen..."
that's not true
i was born in iran, born an iranian citizen, became a US citizen almost 20 years ago, and am STILL an iranian citizen able to voice my opinion and vote in iranian elections.

Dawn D.
Dawn D6 years ago

apple is a horrible company. the way they treat their workers is deplorable to say the best and now this? no one should be supporting them

Gayle R.
Gayle R6 years ago

Steve R.--I'm still very interested in knowing how much you're paid to sit and write Republican talking points and Republican garbage all day and well into the night. You say you own your own business, so obviously with the hours you spend here this must be your business and what you get paid for.

Dennis Deal
Past Member 6 years ago

Hey Steve R. what part that she is a US citizen escaped your notice.. That means she is no longer a citizen of Iran..

Does that get through to you...

Neil A.
Neil A6 years ago

Steve R it is asses like you that show how US has some of the dumbest people in the world & what the hell, why write such bunk & I find it offensive so are you saying all liberals are whiney??
But if you're a bleeding heart, politically correct, whiney liberal - then it must be "racial profiling", right?
To not be "Liberal" shows you are probably a self centred greedy undemocratic piece of scum.

Neil A.
Neil A6 years ago

Many things thrown up here!? the store owners are probably not pleased with loss of sails Sorry sales & why not sell to this Iranian/Persian girl it is up to customs to block it with the stupid policy.
If they want to block to any places then what about all the dangerous offensive anti personnel "shout" sent TO ISRAEL so many Jews are against this appalling illegal punishment of Palestinians.
Also Cuba forget the politics is becoming a much better country than the USA which is not so difficult, in fact US is really bad now GOP STOPPING ALL PROGRESS.
I think it is better to let other countries to have your products unless offensive, Trade is very important to encourage peace but the ISRAELI GOVT & US ARMS INDUSTRY DOES NOT WANT IT.

Alexandra Rodda
Alexandra Rodda6 years ago

More hillbilly stuff from America.

Lauren B.

This is absurd, offensive, and xenophobic. It cannot be the responsibility of stores in the US to decide who can buy a laptop! Customs can deal with exportation of computers according to law (even if the law is stupid), but how preventing people from buying them or using them helps any problem between nations is completely beyond me!

Veronique L.
Veronique L6 years ago

Oh my God.....