updated 11:10 am EDT, Thu July 12, 2012
Says Georgia incident not isolated
The policy director for the National Iranian American Council, Jamal Abdi, is speaking out on the subject of discrimination against Iranians at Apple Stores. Writing in the New York Times, Abdi claims that an incident at an outlet in Georgia was not isolated. "Imagine if your ethnicity determined which products you were able to buy. Or if sales clerks required you to divulge your ancestry before swiping your credit card. Some of us don't have to imagine," he comments.
Another incident is said to have taken place at an Apple Store in Santa Monica, California, where two friends hoping to buy an iPhone were allegedly asked by an Apple clerk if they were speaking "Persian" and then told "I am sorry, we don't sell to Persians." In Sacramento, one Iranian-American said to have been looking to buy for himself mentioned that he was also considering buying an iPod for a nephew in Iran, but was suddenly told he couldn't buy anything, for himself or his nephew. A second Georgian case reportedly involved an Iranian student in Atlanta and his Iranian-American friend, who were blocked from buying an iPhone because during questioning by a clerk, the friend mentioned that the student was going back to Iran for the summer.
Abdi suggests that Apple workers are being forced to "interpret and implement federal policy" banning certain electronics from going to Iran, but with the consequence of racial profiling. He argues that the US Congress and President Obama need to deal with the consequences of increased sanctions, or else continue risking the "values and basic civil liberties of some American citizens."