Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has removed some popular apps designed by Iranian developers, citing USA sanctions, according to The Verge. 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. That followed the removal in recent weeks of apps for food delivery, shopping and other services.
According to the Times, Apple is not operating any official businesses in Iran due to the us sanctions.
Iranians took to Twitter to voice their frustrations at Apple, using the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps.
While Apple's move has disrupted businesses of several Iranian startups, Google, another American business, is hosting Iranian apps on its Google Play service. "Imagine if in the USA you wouldn't be able to get Uber on your phone". The apps were deemed illegal by the Chinese government, and Apple consequently removed them, seeking to maintain a good relationship with what has become the world's largest market for iOS apps.
The spokesperson declined to speak specifically on the apps referenced, but did note the company has made free apps and games that available on its Google Play app store in the country in compliance with USA sanctions.
In addition to blocking Twitter, the Iranian government has long blocked Facebook and YouTube.
European countries lifted all sanctions against Iran after the 2016 nuclear agreement was reached.
"The full removal of Iranian apps by Apple means our work will be much more complicated", he added.
Apple has no presence in Iran, due to United States trade sanctions which prevent companies from doing business with the country. "What is the point when people can't download your app?"
Jahromi tweeted: "11% of Iran's mobile phone market share is owned by Apple".
"There is no pattern to Apple's new move", he told the Financial Tribune. "Respecting customer rights is a principle today that Apple hasn't abided by".
In reaction to Apple's decision, Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said Apple should respect its Iranian consumers. "If the existing restrictions shift, we encourage you to resubmit your app for inclusion on the App Store".
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