Apple removes all Iranian apps from its App Store

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In an unscrupulous move on August 19 Apple Inc. removed applications of several Iranian companies from its iOS App Store.

Iran's new telecommunications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, has also spoken out on Twitter regarding Apple's decision to remove the apps, and has said he is planning to pursue the issue.

Apple responded to the petition in a message that said the company will comply with USA rules.

While the sale of Apple products is actually prohibited in Iran, Iranian consumers still get their hands on Apple devices like iPhones, reports the The New York Times.

Iran doesn't have its own App Store since iPhone sales are banned in the country, but Iranian developers list apps in the Stores of other countries.

On Thursday, the California-based company removed Snapp, the taxi-hailing service dubbed the "Iranian Uber" from its platform, while last week it removed Delion, a food delivery service and Alopeyk, a parcel delivering service. Naturally this has led to the development of Iranian apps, several of which Apple has shut down in recent weeks.

"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. Google hasn't begun to take down Iranian apps from its Play store.

The move prompted backlash from developers online, and lead to the creation of a #StopRemovingIranianApps on Twitter hashtag.

"As a USA company, we remain committed to full compliance with USA export controls and sanctions", a Google spokesperson said. Android developers can publish apps in Iran as long as they do not involve purchases, although just like in the App Store, a number of Iranian services that break these rules do exist.

Even though Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are officially banned and blocked by the Iranian government, TechRasa believes there are 47 million social media users in the country. "Respecting customer rights is a principle today that Apple hasn't abided by".

"We are unable to include your app on the App Store". Barack Obama's administration eased restrictions on US tech companies that offered Internet services in Iran as a way of encouraging a free flow of information, especially among younger Iranians.

The Trump administration signed new sanctions against Iran earlier this month over its missiles program.

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