Apple Inc. has removed all Iranian apps from its App Store, a move the technology giant attributed to US economic sanctions, reports said.
That followed the removal in recent weeks of apps for food delivery, shopping and other services.
In a message to Iranian developers whose apps were affected by the ban, Apple said, "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".
The statement further adds "This area of law is complex and constantly changing". 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.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Los Angeles Times.
The apps which initially were removed were Delion (food delivery service), DigiKala (retailer), AloPeyk (parcel delivery service), Takhfifan (group buying website), and Alibaba (online travel agency). For instance, on Thursday, The New York Times reported that the US firm removed a popular Uber-like Iranian app from the App Store. But now, reports claim that Apple is taking even more aggressive action to remove Iranian apps.
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However, none of the previous incidents were permanent and the apps were restored to the App Store a few days later. It can not even have an Iranian App Store.
"There is no pattern to Apple's new move", he told the Financial Tribune. His app was among those removed during the purge. With a market of millions of iPhone users in the country, a cottage industry has sprung up creating apps relevant to Iranians-apps that are sold in App Stores in other locals and accessed by Iranians who have an Apple ID in those foreign locals.
Apple takes a cut of all App Store purchases and so sales from Iranian apps could violate U.S. law.
Apple's stance on Iranian apps follows another recent crackdown in China on virtual private network (VPN) apps that were being openly marketed on the Chinese iOS App Store. Today, respecting the rights of consumers is a principle which Apple has violated.
"As a USA company, we remain committed to full compliance with USA export controls and sanctions", a Google spokesperson said. 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. USA legislation passed earlier this month imposed mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.