About 70,000 iPhones were turned off in Iran per day during the past five days, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi announced, Mehr reported on Tuesday.
Iranian users of iOS systems do not have access to some of their applications which they have installed from other sources than App Store since February 27, which includes Iranian online banks services, online payments as well as ride-hailing and food delivery services.
According to the statistics released by the Communication Regulatory Authority of Iran, before Apple's blocking, 7000 iPhones are registered daily in Iran, Azari Jahromi said.
However, after that, 350,000 iPhones are turned off, which indicate the development of Iranian apps and shows that Apple loses the Iranian market.
In an opinion editorial written in Financial Tribune on March 3, 2019, Amir Nazemi, the head of Iran Information Technology Organization, noted that ‘Three factors have caused the recent banishment of Iranian iOS apps: U.S.-imposed sanctions against Iran, a change in Apple’s policy in regards to enterprise developer certificates, and a recently published report listing Iranian startups that circumvented US sanctions by using enterprise developer certificates which called on the US firm to take action.’
It is believed that the Apple enterprise program block in Iran was the result of the essay by Nariman Gharib the presenter at the UK-based Manoto TV channel, which is officially viewed as an enemy of the Islamic Revolution.
In his essay, which appeared on February 1, 2019, on medium.com, he provides a list of Iranian banks, which use the iOS developer enterprise certificate program in Iran.
Apple does not have an App Store in Iran, but Iranian developers have created several apps for sale in other domestically developed App Stores, and iPhones are routinely smuggled into the country, despite an official ban on their sale.
However, Information and Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi announced in August 2017 that Apple holds 11 percent share of the Iranian cellphone market.
Apple removed Snapp, a ride-hailing app similar to Uber that is popular in Iran, from its app stores in August 2017. That followed the removal of apps for food delivery, shopping and other services.
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.”
The takedown appears to be an expansion of efforts to restrict Iranian titles that offer in-app transactions, AppleInsider, the news website for Apple products published.
According to the AppleInsider, the company has in the past banned certain apps created by Iranian developers in reaction to U.S. sanctions against that country; this most recently happened in August 2017. Those sanctions forbid Apple from selling hardware or distributing software in Iran.
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