Apple moves to shut down Iranian apps, citing United States sanctions

Apple moves to shut down Iranian apps, citing United States sanctions”

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

Apple is not officially in Iran or any other Persian Gulf countries, but many Iranians purchase its products from stores inside Iran. That followed the removal in recent weeks of apps for food delivery, shopping and other services.

According to the Times, Apple sent this message to Iranian developers whose apps they removed: "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".

Its founder, Mahdi Taghizadeh, is furious about it and is protesting on Twitter, where he started a campaign called #StopRemovingIranianApps.

Almost 4,000 people signed a petition by Friday demanding Apple stop removing Iranian apps from its App Store. "Imagine if in the US you wouldn't be able to get Uber on your phone".

In January, Apple began removing several Iranian apps including DigiKala and Shaparak payment system app which Iranians use to skirt around restrictions banning United States companies from taking payments from Iran. 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.

European countries lifted all sanctions against Iran after the 2016 nuclear agreement was reached.

"Even though Apple is not formally represented in Iran due to the American trade restrictions, the Iranian telecommunications minister said that Apple holds about 11% of the countries smartphones". He has a history of advocating for online freedoms in Iran.

"The full removal of Iranian apps by Apple means our work will be much more complicated", he added. "What is the point when people can't download your app?"

After hinting last week that Twitter and YouTube might be unblocked, Iran's telecommunications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari, took to Twitter to complain about Apple's decision.

"There is no pattern to Apple's new move", he told the Financial Tribune. Giving respect to consumer rights is a principle today which Apple has not followed.

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

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