Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, the 36-year-old Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology, has reacted to the omission of Iranian applications from the App Store by the Apple Inc.
Iranian developers have spoken out against the move, starting a campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps.
"Since Apple takes a cut of all App Store purchases, sales from Iranian apps generate revenue and are thus in violation of USA law", Apple said. "Imagine if in the United States, you wouldn't be able to get Uber on your phone".
Iran is home to a vibrant developer market, which has given rise to apps like Snapp, an Uber-like, ride-hailing service that has "revolutionized the taxi industry", said Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, professor of economics at Virginia Tech and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
"When I inquired why only some Iranian apps have been targeted while hundreds (including some internationally known names) are still available on App Store, the Apple operator did not respond", Mehdi Nayebi, CEO of Alopeyk, one of Iran's leading parcel delivery services, told the Financial Tribune.
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In addition to blocking Twitter, the Iranian government has long blocked Facebook and YouTube.
The spokesperson declined to speak specifically on the apps referenced, but did note the company has made free apps and games that available on its Google Play app store in the country in compliance with USA sanctions. As a result, Iranian apps made money through cash and an online payment system called shaparak, created in response to the sanctions.
"The full removal of Iranian apps by Apple means our work will be much more complicated", he added.
Jahromi tweeted: '11% of Iran's mobile phone market share is owned by Apple.
Thomas Erdbrink and Vindu Goel are New York Times writers.
"Respecting customer rights is a principle today that Apple hasn't abided by", Jahromi said.
"We are unable to include your app on the App Store".