Apple limitedly opened their App Store in September 2016 for startups of Iranian developers and appeared to give up some of the old limitations they had imposed. However, it now appears that they have started removing these apps from the App Store.
The tech news site Techrasa revealed that, just a few days ago, Apple removed Digikala from the App Store. This is the biggest Iranian e-commerce system. There is no official App Store just for the country of Iran, therefore many Iranian developers registered their apps as being from other countries so that they would be able to get them on the store.
Also, the Digikala service uses the Shaparak payment service, which is found nowhere else in the world and is isolated from other international payment systems. Thus, it is in accordance with Apple’s terms and conditions. Also, there are several Iranian banks with iOS apps that often get side-loaded on phones.
There seems to be no reason for which Apple should remove Iranian products from the App Store. Iranians are crazy about technology and gadgets, with a number of about 40 million smartphones in their country, out of which 6 million are iPhones.
The population is 82 million and the average age lies somewhere under 30 years. Also, 100,000 iPhones are monthly smuggled into the country. This leads to a large market for after-sale products and services. Therefore, if Apple allowed the collaboration with Iran, they would find a really productive and flourishing market they could continuously develop.
The U.S. Department of Treasury issued some regulations on the transactions with Iran and it appears that they have blocked the market. Techrasa revealed that Apple no longer allowed Iranian developers to upload their apps. They are informed that there is no App Store available for the territory of Iran and further transactions may not be in accordance with the aforementioned regulations regarding the Iranian market.
The end of the error message shows Apple encouraging the Iranian developers to resubmit their apps once the international laws on trade are revised. So far, Apple has not issued any official statement regarding the issue. It would be interesting to see why they suddenly changed and blocked the store for Iranian products, since they do not break their terms and conditions.
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