Apple removes Iran-affiliated apps citing United States sanctions

Apple removes Iran-affiliated apps citing United States sanctions

Iran's telecommunications minister said his country will legally sue a recent decision by Apple for removing Iranian apps from its App Store, Tehran Times daily reported on Friday.

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

Iran is home to a vibrant developer market, which has given rise to apps like Snapp, an Uber-like, ride-hailing service that has "revolutionized the taxi industry", said Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, professor of economics at Virginia Tech and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Apple previously warned Iranian developers last February to remove payment options from its apps given the US economic sanctions. Naturally this has led to the development of Iranian apps, several of which Apple has shut down in recent weeks.

"Under the US sanctions regulations, the App Store can not host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain USA embargoed countries", reads a message Apple sent to app developers. The firm cited United States sanction regulations as its reason for removing the services, which had proliferated despite the fact that Apple does not offer a dedicated version of its App Store for the nation.

He told the Tribune that "Immediately after receiving a notice from Apple that Dayan has been removed from App Store, I contacted OFAC". "We will legally pursue the omission of apps", he added.

Iranians took to Twitter to voice their frustrations at Apple, using the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps.

Apple has no presence in Iran, due to U.S. trade sanctions which prevent companies from doing business with the country. Ironically, Twitter is blocked by the Iranian government, but users have found a way to access it in the country.

Iran blocks several major social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Citing hard work, he said "No one with an iPhone can download any of the popular apps any more". USA legislation passed earlier this month imposed mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. As a result, Iranian apps made money through cash and an online payment system called shaparak, created in response to the sanctions.

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