Iran’s new telecommunication minister says the country will legally pursue Apple for removing Iranian apps from its App Store.
The US technology company has cited American sanctions after a number of Iranian startups and online developers complained that Apple had suddenly cut their applications.
“Under the US sanctions regulations, the App Store cannot host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain US embargoed countries,” Apple said in a message to Iranians.
Sanctions on Iran were lifted last year following its 2015 nuclear agreement with world countries, however, US President Donald Trump has pushed for more sanctions which the Islamic Republic says breach the accord.
Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi says Apple should respect its Iranian consumers who are estimated in the upwards of 7 million.
“Eleven percent of Iran’s mobile phone market share is owned by Apple. Giving respect to consumer rights is a principle today which Apple has not followed,” Jahromi tweeted on Friday.
“We will follow up the cutting of the apps legally,” he added.
Apple’s market in Iran is related to iPhone holders whose numbers are reportedly higher than those of Android users.
While Apple does not have an official store in Iran, its iPhones have an omnipresence in the country where users obtain the gadgets from places like Dubai and Hong Kong or relatives who visit the United States.
There are currently thousands of applications in Iran developed by startups which also provide services to Iranian users through App Stores outside the country.
Famous online store Digikala, ride-hailing Snapp, online meals delivery startup Delion Foods and e-commerce marketplace Bamilo are some of the companies which have seen their apps removed by Apple.