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Apple Is Pulling Apps By Iranian Developers From The App Store To Comply With US Sanctions

The move has prompted backlash from developers online.

Posted on August 25, 2017, at 6:27 a.m. ET

Scott Morgan / Reuters

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.

Banning apps for people of certain countries is an act against people, not government #StopRemovingIranianApps

Twitter: @x3n0b1a

You have to admit, there is nothing more threatening to US national security more than Iranians getting a taxi. #StopRemovingIranianApps

Twitter: @miladkdz

Why can't we publish our apps on the @AppStore? We're developers like all the other ones around the world. #StopRemovingIranianApps

In July, Apple removed apps that allowed people in China to evade censorship to comply with Chinese regulations, sparking criticism that it was bowing to Beijing's stringent censorship.

Apple did not respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.