APPLE HAS ALLEGEDLY started removing apps created by Iranian developers and companies from the App Store, likely due to a breach of local regulations.
Last September, Apple granted Iranian startups and developers limited access to the App Store for the first time, in order to avoid them having to register their apps to other countries.
It seems this has come to a halt, and local media outlet TechRasa reports Apple has taken the biggest Iranian e-commerce service DigiKala off its app distribution platform.
While Apple has yet to comment, TechRasa says that the problem likely lies within international trade laws, which prohibits submissions for apps and services originating from Iran to be accepted by the App Store, which has forced many firms to register their submissions from outside of Iran.
Local developers are now reporting that Apple is issuing the following message when receiving submissions from the country: "Unfortunately, there is no App Store available for the territory of Iran.
"Additionally, apps facilitating transactions for businesses or entities based in Iran may not comply with the Iranian Transactions Sanctions Regulations (31CFR Part 560) when hosted on the App Store. For these reasons, we are unable to accept your application at this time.
"We encourage you to resubmit your application once international trade laws are revised to allow this functionality."
However, as TechRasa notes, in the case of Digikala, these regulations should, in theory at least, not apply. The company uses the Shaparak payment system, which is completely isolated from international payment systems, and should not breach any policies.
In addition, the report notes that several banks in Iran have apps for the iOS platform which are often side-loaded onto phones.
Earlier this month, Apple yanked removed the New York Times from its App Store in China, at the request of the Chinese government. µ
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