It is no secret that the United States government has levied heavy sanctions against Iran. Now those sanctions are hurting the ability of many Iranian companies to do business through the iPhone. Apple has no official dealings in Iran. All of the products made by Apple are not legally allowed to be sold anywhere in the country as a result of the sanctions that the United States currently has against Iran. However, these sanctions have not stopped the iPhone from becoming just as popular in Iran as it is in many other countries around the world. Iranians are able to obtain iPhones that have been illegally brought into their country from Hong Kong, Dubai and other places.
The huge popularity of the iPhone in Iran has led to dozens of Iranian companies developing apps for the iPhone that can be bought on app stores that can be found in other countries. There is no official Apple app store in Iran. However, Apple has started to crack down on these Iranian companies that spend a great deal of time and money creating iPhone apps. They are in the process of removing all Iranian-based apps from their app stores worldwide. Apple is doing this to remain in compliance with the current U.S. sanctions which make it illegal for them to do business with companies that are currently under American embargo.
Apple made headlines a few weeks ago when they removed many virtual private network (VPN) apps from their Chinese app store. This was a result of complaints made by the Chinese government that the VPN apps make it easy for people to get around the Internet restrictions that are currently in place in the communist country. Apple issued a statement saying that the VPN apps were removed because they violated Chinese law. Apple went on to say that they must obey the laws of any country they do business in. The Chinese market is obviously very lucrative for Apple.
The situation with Iran is slightly different. Apple is simply obeying the laws of the United States that prevent any American country from engaging in business dealings with countries under an embargo. A ride hailing company called Snapp has been one of the hardest hit by Apple removing Iranian-based apps from their stores. The founder of the company said he doesn’t know how the company will be able to function if people can’t download their iPhone app.