Apple Removes All Iran-made Apps From App Store Because Of US sanctions

The last week has seen Apple pulling a number of popular Iranian apps from its App Store platform, resulting in criticism and backlash both from the country’s government and its developers. The recent aggressive changes in Apple’s stance are a result of increasing US sanctions against Iran, however, which restrict how the Cupertino company operates within the country, including limit it from hosting apps.

At the beginning of the year, Apple pulled Iranian apps that processed “transactions for businesses or entities based in Iran,” keeping in line with restrictions that prevent the company from collecting any money from the nation. The last few months have also seen Iranian developers unable to update their apps, while apps recently pulled altogether include food delivery service DelionFoods, and this week it was Snapp, a ride-hailing service similar to Uber.

US sanctions are why Apple doesn’t sell the iPhone in Iran, and why there isn’t an actual Iranian App Store; but developers in the country are still able to release their apps in other regions’ App Stores. Those with apps recently pulled were sent a message from Apple that states, “Under the U.S. sanctions regulations, the App Store cannot host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain U.S. embargoed countries.”

Iran’s telecommunications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, has even taken to Twitter to criticize Apple’s actions, stating “11 percent of the cellphone market in Iran belongs to Apple,” and “Respecting customer rights is a principle today that Apple hasn’t abided by. We will legally pursue the omission of apps.”

Similarly, Iranian app developers have united to speak out against the increasing restrictions, creating a petition to reverse the removal, gathering almost 6,000 signatures, and using the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps on Twitter.

SOURCE New York Times