Iranian messaging apps reportedly removed from App Store

April 11, 2018 - 11:28

TEHRAN – Two Iranian messaging applications have been reportedly removed from the Apple’s iOS App Store from Monday, according to local media.

However, Apple Inc. has not yet issued any statement about removing the messaging apps Soroush and Baleh.

In recent weeks, Iranian officials are mulling over the replacement of domestic messaging apps instead of Telegram, which is popular in Iran.

Last week, President Hassan Rouhani announced the development of domestic messaging applications, saying it is intended to end monopoly in social media.

"Domestic messaging applications and software should not be developed to restrict access (to cyberspace), but should be developed to end monopoly in messaging apps," Rouhani said during a meeting with his ministers, provincial governors and heads of executive bodies.

It is a source of honor to develop "Iranian messaging apps" which are "safe and cheap" and meet the people’s needs.

Up to now, five messaging applications have been approved by the National Center for Cyberspace, an organization established by the Supreme Cyberspace Council.

Soroush, Gap, iGap, BisPhone Plus and Wispi are the applications developed by Iranian experts and are supported by the center.

Domestic messaging applications eye officials for further support and to help them to convince subscribers to move to another application yet.

Iranian apps, not welcomed on App Store  

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 in to the country, despite an official ban on their sale. 

According to statistics published by The Verge in August 2017, an estimated 48 million smartphones have been sold in Iran, a country of 80 million people, and there are an estimated 47 million social media users.

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 last August. Those sanctions forbid Apple from selling hardware or distributing software in Iran. 


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