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Apple is in preliminary talks to offer its iPhone in Iran, perhaps one day marking the company’s first entry in the country, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Cupertino-based company is said to be in contact with Iranian distributors in case “Western sanctions ease sufficiently” and it makes sense to enter the country for business. 

It’s pretty obvious why Apple has been timid to enter Iran, given the tensions surrounding Iran’s nuclear program – which has had a massive effect on Western business not being able to enter the country. Apple is being optimistic about the future, hoping to access Iran’s market of 77 million.

The Wall Street Journal says senior Apple executives have held talks with potential Iranian distributors at its regional headquarters in London. Legally, Apple is allowed to export its iPhone to Iran because of a US decision in May to lift sanctions that had barred the sale of consumer communications technologies in Iran. Dell and Boeing have also been mulling entering the Iranian market.

Apple’s entry could still be far off, if it even chooses to bring its products to Iran. Apple would still need to navigate banking restrictions and would need to hash out key contracts with carriers (who have heavy government involvement). Remember how long it took for Apple to come to China Mobile?

Furthermore, the Wall Street Journal says Apple has sat down with the US Treasury’s Office of Frozen Assets Control about business in Iran. Apple has detailed that roughly 60 percent of its business is coming from international sales, so it may make sense to take new frontiers quite seriously.

[Wall Street Journal]