Apple removes apps from Iran following United States sanctions

Apple does not have an official Iranian App Store like it does for other regions, but a growing group of developers have been creating apps that are then sold in other App Stores. Due to USA sanctions on Iran, companies like Apple are limited in the sorts of business they can do in the country, which is why the iPhone isn't legally sold in Iran and why there's no Iranian App Store.

Taghizadeh has also protested the move with a #StopRemovingIranianApps campaign on Twitter, according to The Times.

In a message to Iranian developers whose apps were affected by the ban, Apple said, "Under the United States sanctions regulations, the App Store can not host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain U.S. embargoed countries".

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. "If the existing restrictions shift, we encourage you to resubmit your app for inclusion on the App Store".

The Telecommunication Minister tweeted: '11% of Iran's mobile phone market share is owned by Apple. For instance, on Thursday, The New York Times reported that the US firm removed a popular Uber-like Iranian app from the App Store. That followed the removal in recent weeks of apps for food delivery, shopping and other services. "No one with an iPhone can download any of the popular apps any more".

In the spirit of encouraging open access to information the Obama administration went as far as to pass measures to sanction technology companies which helped Iran - where Twitter and Facebook are banned - suppress internet communication.

In 2013, Barack Obama lifted a ban on U.S. companies selling communication equipment to Iran while remaining sanctions were gradually wound down after the 2016 nuclear agreement was reached.

Azari Jahromi has also hinted that Twitter and YouTube may be unblocked in Iran in the near future, but has also affirmed that this is not his decision to make.

The Associated Press reported that Iranian authorities say all apps from developers based in the country have been removed from the App Store.

  • Tracy Klein