Apple removes apps from Iran following U.S. sanctions

Apple removes apps from Iran following U.S. sanctions

Apple removes apps from Iran following U.S. sanctions

That has not stopped Iranians from snapping up millions of iPhones smuggled in from places like Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong.

Because American sanctions already prevent Apple from selling hardware or distributing software in the Persian republic, developers have distributed their apps through official App stores operated in other countries.

Now, Apple is moving aggressively to shut down Iranian apps.

Apple's crackdown follows a similar wave of removals which targeted Chinese apps created to enable residents to evade censors and gain access to the global internet.

"Under the U.S. sanctions regulations, the App Store can not host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain USA embargoed countries", the company told Iranian developers. He declined further comment.

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

"We work so hard, and have to fight all the time, and now this", he said in an interview. For instance, on Thursday, The New York Times reported that the US firm removed a popular Uber-like Iranian app from the App Store.

Earlier this year, when Apple told Iranian developers to take down payment options in their apps in order to make sure no Iranian money fell into Apple's hands, most Iranian apps switched over to an Iran-based online payment system.

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According to the Times, Apple is not operating any official businesses in Iran due to the US sanctions. Like Facebook and YouTube, Twitter is banned by the government in Iran, but determined Iranians still use it to connect with each other and the world at large.

The U.S. has levied a host of sanctions against Iran due to its nuclear weapons program.

Twitter user Mohammad Rasul who is a tech enthusiast tweeted: "All the apps deleted from the App Store, does not have any relation to Iranian government!" 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. It is unclear whether the administration meant to impose new restrictions on technology companies. Until now, the search giant hasn't taken any action on the Iranian apps available in the Play Store. After the Apple notice, nearly all Iranian apps, including Snapp, switched to shaparak, cash and other methods of payment.

In reaction to Apple's message, Azari Jahromi said the company's response is not precise. His company had started an online campaign to attract more customers, but has chose to halt those efforts for now.

Translation: 11 percent of the cellphone market in Iran belongs to Apple.

"Giving respect to consumer rights is a principle today which Apple has not followed", Jahromi tweeted. We will follow up the cutting of the apps legally.

Thomas Erdbrink and Vindu Goel are New York Times writers.

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