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OFAC Seemingly Against Apple's Anti-Iran Bias

OFAC Seemingly Against Apple's Anti-Iran Bias”

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.

According to official reports by Apple and information provided by some domestic sources, the company has shut down some of the popular applications developed by Iranians on App Store due to the United States sanctions.

In a message to Iranian developers whose apps were affected by the ban, Apple said: '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'.

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Some developers have taken to Twitter to respond to removals, with one creating the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps. Apple said it focused on removing apps that could potentially send Iranian money into Apple's accounts.

"We are unable to include your app on the App Store".

"This will have drastic effects on the startup ecosystem and economy", the creators of the petition, who characterized themselves as "Iranian residents of global village", said of Apple's decision. According to the official literature, Apple is not prohibited from hosting Iranian software products on App Store.

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Apple's stance on Iranian apps follows another recent crackdown in China on virtual private network (VPN) apps that were being openly marketed on the Chinese iOS App Store. Naturally this has led to the development of Iranian apps, several of which Apple has shut down in recent weeks.

Google, which allows Android developers to publish apps in Iran so long as they do not involve purchases, does not appear to have taken a similar action against Iranian apps in its Play store, and its formal Play guidelines allow apps to be distributed in the country. Facebook and YouTube are blocked by the Iranian government as well. "No one with an iPhone can download any of the popular apps any more".

"Even though Apple is not formally represented in Iran due to the American trade restrictions, the Iranian telecommunications minister said that Apple holds about 11% of the countries smartphones". Iran had developed its own internal online payment system, shaparak, in response to the sanctions.

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