Apple Has Started to Remove Iranian Apps Over Sanctions
Apple is removing popular apps from its App Store over U.S. Iranian sanctions.
The iPhone maker has in recent weeks removed a slew of Iranian apps from its marketplace, including the popular ride-hailing service Snapp, which operates in the Middle Eastern country, according to The New York Times, which spoke to affected developers. Apple has also removed shopping apps and those that provide other services to Iranian users.
In a note to Iranian developers, Apple AAPL blamed “U.S. sanctions regulations” for the move, and said that it’s not allowed to offer apps to Iran through its marketplace.
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Due to the same sanctions, Apple does not actually sell iPhones to Iran and doesn’t have an Iran-specific App Store. However, it’s estimated that millions of Iranians have purchased iPhones through other countries, and software developers have built apps for those users. They previously brought those apps to Apple’s App Store, which Iranians accessed and used to download the programs.
Apple’s decision stands in stark contrast to its competitor Google, which still offers the apps Apple has removed in its Google Play marketplace. Google GOOGL also allows for apps to be accessible and downloaded in Iran, marking a stark departure with Apple.
Samsung SSNLF , another Apple competitor, sells its hardware directly to the country. But because Samsung is a Korea-based company that doesn’t have the same sanctions concerns, it’s able to more directly target Iran.
According to the Times, Iran’s telecommunications minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said that the country “will legally purse the omission of apps.” He added that Apple is not “respecting customer rights.”
Apple did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment on its Iranian moves.