Apple has reportedly began removing apps from Iranian developers from the iOS App Store. Techrasa reports that Apple removed the app Digikala, a large e-commerce app a few days ago. The iPhone maker has yet to comment on the situation but it’s believed that this is due to international trade laws (TechCrunch via 9to5Mac).
The App Store opened in Iran in September of 2016, with Apple gradually lifting restrictions that had previously been in place. While there still isn’t an official App Store in the country, Iranian developers have been marking their apps from another country to circumvent this issue.
Apple has begun sending out the following message to Iranian developers who try to submit their apps marked in different countries:
“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.”
Right now, the motives behind the app removals are unclear. It’s unknown whether or not Apple is removing all apps from Iranian developers or just a select few.