Apple (AAPL) removed several Iranian apps from its app store this week in order to comply with USA sanctions against the country, in a move that drew criticism from Iran's telecommunications minister, the New York Times reported.
"11 percent of the cellphone market in Iran belongs to Apple", he wrote according to a New York Times translation.
"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.
For the last few weeks, Apple has been removing Iranian food delivery and shopping apps, and on Thursday, it removed Snapp, an Uber-like ride hailing app that is popular in Iran. "No one with an iPhone can download any of the popular apps any more". For instance, on Thursday, The New York Times reported that the US firm removed a popular Uber-like Iranian app from the App Store.
Because American sanctions already prevent Apple from selling hardware or distributing software in the Persian republic, developers have distributed their apps through official App stores operated in other countries.
"The full removal of Iranian apps by Apple means our work will be much more complicated", he added.
Lebanese Army Secures Swift Gains against Daesh
On the first day of the drive, the army said it captured 12 square miles of terrrain and killed 20 Islamic State militants. Last month, Hezbollah concluded a joint counter-terrorism campaign with the Syrian army at Lebanon's highlands of Arsal.
Iran's new telecommunications minister, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, criticized Apple's decision to remove the apps in a tweet, saying that he would look into the matter.
Taghizadeh has protested the move online, starting a campaign on Twitter, #StopRemovingIranianApps, to press Apple to end the crackdown.
"Giving respect to consumer rights is a principle today which Apple has not followed", Jahromi tweeted. "We will legally pursue the omission of apps".
"As a USA company, we remain committed to full compliance with USA export controls and sanctions", a Google spokesperson said.
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.
The Trump administration signed new sanctions against Iran earlier this month over its missiles program. As a result, Iranian apps made money through cash and an online payment system called shaparak, created in response to the sanctions.