Technology company Apple has removed several popular Iranian apps from its App Store platform over concerns that doing business in Iran violates U.S. sanctions. That followed the removal in recent weeks of apps for food delivery, shopping and other services.
Pursuant to the USA sanctions, Apple has no official presence in Iran.
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).
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.
"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", reads a message Apple sent to app developers. "We'll pursue the removal of [Iranian] apps", said Azari Jahromi on his Twitter page. He added: "Respecting customer rights is a principle today that Apple hasn't abided by".
"We are unable to include your app on the App Store".
It is interesting to note that the minister also took to Twitter to express his displeasure. His app was among those removed during the purge. The company even put app developers on notice a few months ago, telling them to not include payment options in their apps so that Iranian currency wouldn't make its way into the USA, according to The Times.
On Thursday, Apple removed Snapp, a million-dollar ride sharing company, from its App Store. 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. He said some of the deleted apps were not associated with financial transactions, and some were registered in countries other than Iran due to sanctions.
"This will have drastic effects on the startup ecosystem and economy", the creators of the petition, who characterized themselves as "Iranian residents of global village", said of Apple's decision.