Apple is pulling apps created by Iranian developers that are specifically designed for people in Iran from its App Stores to comply with US sanctions, The New York Times reports.
Apple does not sell its products in Iran and an Iranian version of the Apple App Store doesn’t exist, but smuggled iPhones are popular among wealthy Iranians. Iranian developers have created thousands of apps for these users and offer them on App Stores in other countries including the US App Store. 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.
According to the Times, Apple sent this message to Iranian developers whose apps they removed: “Under the U.S. sanctions regulations, the App Store cannot host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain U.S. embargoed countries.”
The move prompted backlash from developers online, and lead to the creation of a #StopRemovingIranianApps on Twitter hashtag.