Apple removes all Iranian apps from its App Store

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Apple has been cracking down on Iranian apps over the last few weeks, removing those that offer food delivery, shopping and ride-hailing services, among others from its App Stores.

Iranian media are reporting that Apple Inc. has removed all Iranian mobile apps from its App Store.

In a message to the CEOs of the businesses affected, Apple said: "Under the U.S. sanctions regulations, the App Store can not host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain United States embargoed countries".

Some developers have taken to Twitter to respond to removals, with one creating the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps.

Now, Apple is moving aggressively to shut down Iranian apps.

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. We will follow up the cutting of the apps legally.

"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 officially has no presence in Iran and does not sell any iPhones there.

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).

According to the Times, Apple is not operating any official businesses in Iran due to the USA sanctions.

Since August 19, Apple has gradually removed most applications related to Iran from its iOS store.

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. 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.

Jahromi is Iran's youngest ever government minister.

"There is no pattern to Apple's new move", he told the Financial Tribune.

Apple's recent action can be seen as an extension of its earlier efforts when it restricted the Iranian apps with in-app transactions, citing non-compliance with the Iranian Transactions Sanctions Regulations.