The sanctioned entities reportedly got around Amazon’s screening process by using common alternative spellings of a sanctioned region like spelling Crimea as Krimea or by shipping items to the foreign missions of the sanctioned nations like Iran. Last year Apple paid around $467,000 to settle similar allegations that it violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with a blacklisted entity for more than two years because the company’s screening tool failed to account for differences in punctuation and letter cases. (Forbes, "Amazon Agrees To Pay $135,000 In Settlement For Violating U.S. Sanctions," 7/10/2020).
"In early August, Iranians took to Twitter to report that they had received emails from Amazon Web Services (AWS) informing them that their accounts had been disabled in compliance with United States government sanctions and export control regulations." (Al Jazeera, "Locked Out: Why is Amazon blocking Iranians from its services?" 10/2/2019).
"Amazon has become the latest major American technology company to block Iranians from accessing its products and services due to U.S. government sanctions that prohibit companies from providing products or services to people based in Iran. Iranian developers who are now banned from using Amazon Web Service (AWS), which offers the worlds most extensive cloud computing platforms, will feel the greatest impact, as well as those who use those developers’ websites, services and products including virtual private networks (VPNs) that enable users to circumvent online censorship." (Center for Human Rights in Iran, "More Iranians Forced to Rely on Unsafe Online Hosting After Amazon Ban," 8/7/2019).
In July 2017 Amazon disclosed the government probe in documents filed with the SEC. The company said that between Jan 2012 and June 2017 it sold and delivered nearly $25,000 worth of merchandise to an Iranian embassy outside of Iran, and another $8,100 to other individuals with ties to the Iranian government, according to the filing.
The products it sold included books, jewelry, toys, health and beauty products, electronics, lawn and patio equipment, and musical instruments
"Amazon.com Inc. on Friday disclosed Iranian business ties that may have violated U.S. sanctions, warning that it may be penalized after a regulatory review of the activities. The company said in a regulatory filing that from 2012 to 2016 it "processed and delivered orders of consumer products for certain individuals and entities located outside Iran covered by the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act (ITRA)"... Amazon said Friday it sold a variety of consumer products to individuals and unspecified groups controlled or owned by the Iranian government. The goods ranged from apparel to software to pet products and cost $50 to about $2,400, according to the filing. Amazon said it doesn't plan to sell to these accounts in the future." (Bloomberg, "Amazon Discloses Iranian Business Ties, Warms of Penalities," 2/10/2017).