Iran Vows to Legally Pursue Apple's Removal of Iranian Apps

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 US, according to The Times. But because Samsung is a Korea-based company that doesn't have the same sanctions concerns, it's able to more directly target Iran.

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

OFAC's email came in response to a request for information by Amir Zandi, a developer of food ordering app Dayan.

Iran is home to a vibrant developer market, which has given rise to apps like Snapp, an Uber-like, ride-hailing service that has "revolutionized the taxi industry", said Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, professor of economics at Virginia Tech and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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Iran's telecommunications minister said his country will legally sue a recent decision by Apple for removing Iranian apps from its App Store, Tehran Times daily reported on Friday.

More specifically it writes, "if the software you are proposing to export does not fall within the category of the items and/or activities any of the activities of any of the general licenses, the company would need to apply for a specific license to export the item". It can not even have an Iranian App Store.

Another popular Iranian app that was recently pulled down was DelionFoods, an online food delivery service company.

Divar, Netbarg and Aparat so far continue to be listed on the iOS application store.

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"We will legally sue (the issue of) removing of the apps", Azari-Jahromi said.

But developers of apps like Iran's Uber-like Snapp, which was taken down this week, were recently sent a message from Apple saying, "Under the USA sanctions regulations, the App Store can not host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain US embargoed countries".

"This area of law is complex and constantly changing". Android developers can publish apps in Iran as long as they do not involve purchases, although just like in the App Store, a number of Iranian services that break these rules do exist.

They previously brought those apps to Apple's App Store, which Iranians accessed and used to download the programs.

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