Apple removes apps from Iran following U.S. sanctions

Aug 26, 2017, 01:21
Apple removes apps from Iran following U.S. sanctions

Apple previously warned Iranian developers last February to remove payment options from its apps given the US economic sanctions.

Apple began removing Iranian apps this week because of recent sanctions by the US government against the Middle Eastern country.

Apple is pulling apps created by Iranian developers that are specifically designed for people in Iran from its App Stores to comply with U.S. sanctions, The New York Times reports.

Some developers have taken to Twitter to respond to removals, with one creating the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps.

Apple takes a cut of all App Store purchases and so sales from Iranian apps could violate U.S. law.

In reaction to Apple's decision, Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, 34, said Apple should respect its Iranian consumers.

"We will legally sue (the issue of) removing of the apps", Azari-Jahromi said.

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He told the Tribune that "Immediately after receiving a notice from Apple that Dayan has been removed from App Store, I contacted OFAC".

Even though Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are officially banned and blocked by the Iranian government, TechRasa believes there are 47 million social media users in the country.

Snapp was one of the apps the New York Times said was removed from the App Store.

Apple's stance on Iranian apps follows another recent crackdown in China on virtual private network (VPN) apps that were being openly marketed on the Chinese iOS App Store.

Google, which allows Android developers to publish apps in Iran so long as they do not involve purchases, does not appear to have taken a similar action against Iranian apps in its Play store, and its formal Play guidelines allow apps to be distributed in the country.

When it comes to technology, USA sanctions against Iran over its nuclear weapons program are complicated.

Apple has no presence in Iran, due to U.S. trade sanctions which prevent companies from doing business with the country. Barack Obama's administration eased restrictions on US tech companies that offered Internet services in Iran as a way of encouraging a free flow of information, especially among younger Iranians. Iran had developed its own internal online payment system, shaparak, in response to the sanctions.

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