TEHRAN (Iran News) – Figures provided by Iranian officials and corroborated by a local news agency show a fifth of all funds spent by the country on mobile phone imports in the year to March went to luxury devices made by the American company Apple Inc.
The figures cited in a Sunday report by the semi-official Tasnim news agency showed that Apple phone imports into Iran had amounted to $600 million in value terms in the calendar year to March 20.
The report said that some 600,000 Apple phones had been imported into Iran over the period despite the fact that country was under the harshest of economic sanctions by the United States.
Senior Iranian officials have cautioned against using hard-won foreign currency funds for imports of luxury goods at a time the country is struggling under illegal US bans.
Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has specifically mentioned Apple phones in his speeches in recent years, urging Iranians to boycott the “luxury” product to signal their discontent at US policies toward Iran.
However, an Iranian telecoms ministry official told Tasnim that Apple phone imports into Iran had been responsible for nearly 20% of the value all mobile phone shipments that arrived in the country in the year to March.
Iran spent $2.9 billion on imports of 15.6 million phones over the period, said Akbar Soltani, who added that the government should further raise a current 12% tariff on imports of phones with a price of more than $600 to prevent more losses on the country’s foreign currency resources.
The United States still maintains a raft of economic sanctions that were imposed on Iran in 2018 after a former US government pulled out of an international agreement on the country’s nuclear program.