Google Play follows Apple to remove Iranian apps

Source: Xinhua| 2017-09-09 18:58:51|Editor: ying
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TEHRAN, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Google Play has followed Apple's lead in removing Iranian apps from its store, Press TV reported on Saturday.

The digital service distributor cited U.S. sanctions against the Islamic republic as the reason for its measure.

Google and Apple were hosting Iranian apps reportedly under a license issued by former President Barack Obama's administration in 2014.

Tehran is still under continuous unilateral sanctions by Washington despite a 2015 nuclear international accord which put an end to Iran's controversial nuclear program by exerting more restrictions on the Iranian nuclear activities in return for easing western and international sanctions.

Millions of Iranians use iPhones smuggled in from different countries and thousands of apps have been created for Iranians in App Store.

In August, Apple removed Snapp, a ride-hailing app similar to Uber that is popular in Iran, from its app stores. That followed by the removal in recent weeks of apps for food delivery, shopping and other services.

In January, Apple pulled a number of Iran-based iOS apps from the App Store, including online e-commerce service Digikala, citing noncompliance with Iranian Transactions Sanctions Regulations.

In a message to Iranian developers whose apps were affected by the ban, Apple said, "Under the U.S. sanctions regulations, the App Store cannot host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain U.S. embargoed countries."

"Since Apple takes a cut of all App Store purchases, sales from Iranian apps generate revenue and are thus in violation of U.S. law," Apple said.

Iran's telecommunications minister said last month that his country would legally sue a recent decision by Apple for removing Iranian apps from its App Store.

Apple holds 11 percent share of the Iranian cellphone market, however, it has not observed the Iranian consumer rights, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said.