Apple removes all Iranian apps from its App Store

Apple Is Pulling Apps By Iranian Developers From The App Store To Comply With US 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.

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.

In a message to Iranian developers whose apps were affected by the ban, Apple said, "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".

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The tech giant removed ride-sharing app Snapp, as well as apps related to online shopping and food delivery, according to the report.

One of DelionFoods' founders, Mahdi Taghizadeh, expressed frustration over the decision in an interview with The Times.

Ali Maleki, who works for Iran's biggest e-commerce site Digikala, said the apps were shut down around 10 days ago. "Imagine if in the US you wouldn't be able to get Uber on your phone". 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.

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"The full removal of Iranian apps by Apple means our work will be much more complicated", he added. In regards to Apple, Iran's telecommunications minister said on Twitter that the country would "legally pursue the omission of apps".

Iranians took to Twitter to voice their frustrations at Apple, using the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps. Giving respect to consumer rights is a principle today which Apple has not followed.

In 2013, Barack Obama lifted a ban on United States companies selling communication equipment to Iran while remaining sanctions were gradually wound down after the 2016 nuclear agreement was reached. Barack Obama's administration eased restrictions on USA tech companies that offered Internet services in Iran as a way of encouraging a free flow of information, especially among younger Iranians. US legislation passed earlier this month imposed mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them. Iran had developed its own internal online payment system, shaparak, in response to the sanctions.

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