Iran’s Association of Mobile Phone Importers says more than 120,000 iPhone 14 units worth $150 million have entered illegally into the country since March, when the authorities imposed a ban on imports of Apple’s mobile phone model.
In a letter to First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber, the association said that the iPhone 14, produced by Foxconn in China, does not possess any unique features such as satellite communication capabilities that would justify its inclusion in the list of prohibited imports.
Speculations have arisen suggesting that the ban was imposed out of concerns that the iPhone 14 could be used to connect to the Starlink satellite internet service and help Iranians circumvent the government's restrictions on accessing the internet, a possibility that has been refuted by telecom experts.
The Association of Mobile Phone Importers also cautioned against relying solely on bans to control the influx of iPhone 14 devices. Advancements in technology allow unscrupulous individuals to bypass the registry system, effectively rendering the ban ineffective, it said.
The association concluded that the ban on iPhone 14 imports deprives the government from high tax revenues and causes significant economic harm to legitimate importers.
In August 2022, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei called for a ban on the import of "luxury American phones” into Iran, saying such imports represented an "unnecessary" expenditure for Iranians.
State-run Press TV reported in February that imports of iPhones accounted for nearly 32 percent of Iran’s $4.4 billion worth of mobile phone imports during the Persian year ending in March last year.