Iran is feeling pressure of economic sanctions, once again, after Apple blocked Iranian users from accessing the Apple Store. The decision does not appear to be fully voluntary on Apple’s part, it comes after nearly two years of smaller-scale removals of apps submitted by Iranian developers, which were previously attributed by U.S. sanctions.
— Saeed Taheri (@saeed_taheri) March 15, 2018
According to tweets from iOS developer Saeed Taheri and others, Iranian users attempting to view the App Store are now shown an error message. When accessing the iOS App Store from Iranian IP addresses, the message states, “The App Store is unavailable in the country or region you’re in.” Previously, Iranian users were able to at least view and download apps from the App Store.
Tim Cook spotting on the Hill. “I’m just here for the good company,” he says pic.twitter.com/3tCOjfk0Cd
— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) March 13, 2018
The sanctions are becoming more pressing by the U.S. after militaries in Syria are reportedly being supplied by Iran. Iran seems to have no interest in slowing down an arms trade with Syrian rebels despite ongoing problems in Iran. The recent situation with Apple furthers these sanctions and shows cooperation on behalf of Apple after Apple CEO Tim Cook was spotted in Washington’s Capitol Hill.
Unlike Syria, Iran has over 100 million citizens and supplies enough oil to fund their entire nation for many generations. Iran also has one of the strongest militaries in the world. Despite the economic pressures Iran is withstanding, these limitations could easily be overcome with some business trades. Iran also is allied with bigger countries like China whose economy is directly connected with Iran’s oil trade.
Although Apple is abiding by U.S. laws, Apple did state that business will return to Iran once U.S. sanctions are lifted. These laws aren’t slowing down Apple or Iran in the slightest bit, but shows cooperation to the U.S. government on behalf of Apple.
Iranians can still use VPN’s to access the Apple store. Microsoft still conducts business in Iran, along with Android devices.