26 August, 2017
The OFAC email also said that in case the Iranian developers do not succeed in convincing Apple to bring back their software products back to the App Store, they can apply for exemption from the U.S. government. However, millions of iPhones are smuggled in to the country and developers use other countries' App Store to create and share apps.
On Thursday, Apple removed Snapp, a ride-hailing app similar to Uber that is popular in Iran, from its app stores.
According to the Times, Apple is not operating any official businesses in Iran due to the USA sanctions.
The move prompted backlash from developers online, and lead to the creation of a #StopRemovingIranianApps on Twitter hashtag.
Apple's presence in Iran was already complicated, as the company doesn't have an official app store, and the sale of iPhones is prohibited. "Imagine if in the U.S., you wouldn't be able to get Uber on your phone". The apps were deemed illegal by the Chinese government, and Apple consequently removed them, seeking to maintain a good relationship with what has become the world's largest market for iOS apps.
The U.S. has levied a host of sanctions against Iran due to its nuclear weapons program.More news: Smokers more likely to quit when cigarette prices increase
Jahromi is Iran's youngest ever government minister.
"In order to further ensure that the sanctions on Iran do not have an unintended chilling effect on the ability of companies to provide personal communications tools to individuals in that country OFAC is providing illustrative guidance on the scope of the personal communications general license".
"The full removal of Iranian apps by Apple means our work will be much more complicated", Taghizadeh told The Times. "What is the point when people can't download your app?"
"11 per cent of the cellphone market in Iran belongs to Apple", wrote Azari Jahromi on Twitter (translated from Persian). Today, respecting the rights of consumers is a principle which Apple has violated. In regards to Apple, Iran's telecommunications minister said on Twitter that the country would "legally pursue the omission of apps". "If the existing restrictions shift, we encourage you to resubmit your app for inclusion on the App Store".
Apple declined to comment on the issue to The New York Times.