According to Bloomberg Technology, the internet retail giant Amazon may face penalties after disclosing that it “processed and delivered” to accounts between 2012 to 2016 that violates U.S. sanction laws against Iran.
Recent news and rumors on new sanction related violations on Iran are spicing up and are also reaching it’s way to Iran’s tech and startup scene. Just recently Apple also started to remove some Iranian apps including Iran’s version of Amazon, DigiKala from the App Store as the app was using the Iranian payment network which is the only payment method due to sanctions. Apple’s rationale for this removal was that this app complied with the Iranian Transactions Sanctions Regulations (31CFR Part 560). At the end of the the note apple sent to this Iranian startup it also mentioned that “We encourage you to resubmit your application once international trade laws are revised to allow this functionality”. Read more here.
Amazon said it sold a variety of consumer products to individuals and unspecified groups related or owned by the Iranian government on Friday according to Bloomberg Technology. The items sold were from apparel to software to pet products that costed between $50 to about $2,400 according to a filing amazon made. To avoid more penalties Amazon said it doesn’t plan to sell to these accounts in the future.
The recent Muslim travel ban which also prevents Iranians to travel to the U.S. has also raised massive media buzz. Just over a week ago, CNBC reported an Iranian startup founder living in Switzerland couldn’t make it to a semiconductor conference in Silicon Valley because of this law. This Iranian entrepreneur had also plans to hire 80 to 100 engineers and designers in the U.S. which is now thinking of doing this in Europe or Asia. “I feel that the U.S. is just not a stable country. I can’t really make long-term plans there,” said the the Iranian founder.
Chinese e-commerce companies are already selling products to Iranians using international payment methods, and are shipping them as well. Iranians also had indirect access to Amazon and Ebay even in the peak of sanctions, Could this become an opportunity for non-American companies especially Asian startups and e-commerce companies to take advantage of this opportunity?
Could the possible penalties and sanction violations on Amazon prevent other startups to sell their products and services to Iranian government related and non-government related altogether?