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Apple shuts down Iranian apps: reports

Apple shuts down Iranian apps: reports

TEHRAN: Apple Inc has removed all Iranian mobile apps from its App Store, authorities said on Friday.

Ali Maleki, who works for Iran’s biggest e-commerce site Digikala, told The Associated Press that the app was shut down around 10 days ago. He said Digikala’s app has been removed “based on the new type of sanctions which were imposed against Iran.”

In reaction to Apple’s decision, Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said Apple should respect its Iranian consumers.

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Jahromi tweeted: “11% 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. We will follow up the cutting of the apps legally.”




The move comes two years after the historic nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, in which Iran accepted curbs on its contested nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions. US legislation passed earlier this month imposed mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran’s ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.

Apple is not officially in Iran or any other Persian Gulf countries, but many Iranians purchase its products from stores inside Iran.

Earlier on Tuesday, Iran’s new communications minister negotiations were underway with Twitter to unblock the service, which has been banned for years despite being used even by the country’s supreme leader.

“(Twitter) has announced that it is prepared to negotiate to resolve problems,” Mr Jahromi told the Iran daily newspaper.

“Considering the current situation there are grounds for such negotiation and interaction. Twitter is not an immoral environment needing to be blocked,” he added.

The 36-year-old Jahromi became Iran’s youngest-ever minister this week, and the first to be born after the 1979 Islamic revolution.

His selection has been criticised by rights groups over his involvement in surveillance during and after the mass anti-regime protests of 2009.

But Jahromi is also seen as a critic of online censorship in Iran, where sites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter remain banned even if millions use them daily through easily available privacy software.

There was no immediate response from Twitter to his comments.

He said officials were also looking at ways to unblock YouTube while still censoring “immoral content” on the site, and that a pilot project was being run, allowing universities to access the site.

Jahromi added that the final decision on unblocking Twitter did not lie with his ministry, but with the Supreme Council for Cyberspace, which includes members of the hardline judiciary.

Twitter was banned at the time of mass anti-regime protests in 2009, that followed allegations of massive rigging in the re-election of president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But despite the ban, the US messaging service is widely used by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has official accounts in several languages, as well as President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.—AP

Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2017

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