The Apple iPhone may make its way into Iranian hands in the near future. The company is reportedly in talks with distributors in the Middle East country for a possible entry, pending the easing of sanctions from Western nations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
It’s a move that’s not unique to Apple as other companies have begun exploring the possibility of doing business again in the country if economic sanctions are pulled back. Among the prospectors earlier this month were hundreds of European executives who gathered in London to discuss future deals in the country.
"Iran is the last, large, untapped emerging market in the world," group chief executive of Turquoise Partners, Ramin Rabii, told BBC. The Obama administration is looking to thaw relations with Iran as it looks to enlist the country in the fight against the Islamic State.
American businesses are starting to warm to the possibility of business with Iran as well. Boeing admitted last week in its third-quarter filings that it had sold flight manuals, data and navigation charts to Iran Air, its first sale to Iran since 1979, according to Reuters. Dell is also reportedly in talks with Iran to sell its personal computers within the country if sanctions are lifted.
But unlike Apple’s flagship retail store strategy in many countries, the company would rely primarily on authorized retailers that sell their products exclusively. It would be able to do this in part due to the lifting of U.S. restrictions on the sale of mobile phones and laptops to Iran in May 2013, according to Bloomberg.
Should Apple gain a foothold in the country, it would have access to huge market. Iran has an estimated population of 80 million, 42 percent of which is under the age of 25. With over half of Apple’s revenue in 2014 coming from overseas, that percentage could grow even higher with Iran in the picture.