Apple reportedly removed popular apps in Iran from its App Store on Friday, citing U.S. sanctions against the Middle Eastern country.
Some of the apps Apple removed include a Uber-like ride-hailing app and a food delivery service, according to the New York Times.
“Under the U.S. sanctions regulations, the App Store cannot host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain U.S. embargoed countries,” reads a message Apple sent to app developers.
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The Trump administration signed new sanctions against Iran earlier this month over its missiles program. The Iranian sanctions were part of a larger bill mainly targeted at Russia.
Iranians took to Twitter to voice their frustrations at Apple, using the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps.
“Removing a developer’s app from [the App Store] is like taking away his future,” tweeted Parsa Janbaz, CEO of Tehran-based app Dunro. “Apple removes apps from people who are still in their 20s and full of hope with the excuse of sanctions.”
Other Iranian developers joined the campaign to pressure Apple to reverse its decision, despite Twitter being banned in Iran:
You have to admit, there is nothing more threatening to US national security more than Iranians getting a taxi. #StopRemovingIranianApps
— Milad (@miladkdz) August 24, 2017
Iranian Apps doesn’t have any relation with government! US Sanctions targeting developers and people not government #StopRemovingIranianApps
— Yaser Bahrami (@Yaser_Bahrami) August 23, 2017
Why can't we publish our apps on the @AppStore? We're developers like all the other ones around the world.#StopRemovingIranianApps
— Mehdi Bahrami (@MehdiBahraami) August 22, 2017
IT should be used for making human life better and comfortable not a tool for discrimination between countries.#StopRemovingIranianApps
— MJ Azari Jahromi (@azarijahromi) August 25, 2017
Apple officially has no presence in Iran and does not sell any iPhones there. However, iPhones are popular because third-party merchants from Hong Kong and Dubai smuggle them over.
In February, Apple told Iranian developers to remove any payment options in their apps to prevent Iranian money from entering the United States, a violation of the sanctions. As a result, Iranian apps made money through cash and an online payment system called shaparak, created in response to the sanctions.
Photo: The “leaf” on the logo of Apple store turns green to welcome the World Earth Day on April 20, 2016 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. (VCG via Getty Images)
Tags: Apple, apps, iPhone, Iran