Iranians up in arms as Apple removes top apps

This file photo taken on July 09, 2017 shows Bamilo employees working at the e-commerce site's offices in the Iranian capital Tehran. Iranians have been joined by a minister in protest after Apple removed popular apps from its store, which the American company says has been done to comply with US sanctions. (AFP)
Updated 26 August 2017

Iranians up in arms as Apple removes top apps

TEHRAN: Iranians have been joined by a minister in protest after Apple removed popular apps from its store, which the American company says has been done to comply with US sanctions.
“Today, respecting consumers’ rights is a basic principle which Apple has not followed,” Information and Communication Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi tweeted, promising to “legally pursue” the case.
“IT should be used for making human life better and comfortable not a tool for discrimination between countries,” he wrote.
The hashtag #StopRemovingIranianApps has been trending on Iranian social media in the past few days, after Apple removed at least 10 of the country’s most popular apps from its online store.
Those now missing include Amazon-style shopping apps Digikala and Bamilo, ride-hailing apps Snapp and Tap30, discount store Takhfifan and a brunch delivery service called Delion.
“We are unable to include your app on the App Store,” a message sent to some of those companies reportedly said.
“Under the US sanctions regulations, the App Store cannot host, distribute, or do business with apps or developers connected to certain US embargoed countries.”
The US lifted some sanctions on Iran, particularly in the aviation sector, under a 2015 nuclear deal that saw Tehran limit its atomic program.
But American individuals and companies are still barred from doing any business with Iranians because of much older and non-nuclear related sanctions on the Islamic republic.
“There are removed apps which did not have financial transactions, and due to sanctions, some of them were registered in countries other than Iran too,” the minister, Azari Jahromi, said on Twitter.
Some Iranian apps in the same category of the removed ones are still available on the app store.
Iran’s youthful and well-connected population own some 40 million smart phones, six million of them iPhones, the government-owned Iran Daily newspaper reported.
“Apple has not provided any clear answers to our messages,” the daily on Saturday quoted Mehdi Taghizadeh, vice chairman at Delion, as saying.
More than 4,500 Iranian netizens have signed an online petition urging Apple chief executive Tim Cook “to recognize our rights as Apple customers.”
“I’ve always been an Apple user, but despite preferring them... I’m now going to switch to Android,” a user going by the name Xerexes wrote on Twitter.
“Technology is best when it brings people together. We shouldn’t limit or keep others from using and developing it!” tweeted Ferial Govashiri, who used to work as a personal assistant to former US president Barack Obama but is now at Netflix.
Owners of devices that run on Android can still download Iranian apps from the online store for Google, also an American company, but they are still unable to use paid apps in the country.


Lebanese lawmakers to defy naming of new PM

Updated 07 December 2019

Lebanese lawmakers to defy naming of new PM

  • Saad Hariri submitted the resignation of his government on Oct. 29 as a result of ongoing mass protests against corruption

BEIRUT: Three lawmakers and members of Lebanese President Michel Aoun’s parliamentary bloc will not abide by its decision to name a new prime minister on Monday. 

Meanwhile, activists in the civil movement are holding meetings to announce a general strike and the blocking of roads on Monday in protest over reports that the new government will not include technocrats.

Samir Al-Khatib is considered the most favored candidate after preliminary consultations conducted by Aoun with his allies prior to setting the date for binding parliamentary consultations to nominate a Sunni prime minister, as required by the Lebanese constitution.

Prime Minister Saad Hariri submitted the resignation of his government on Oct. 29 as a result of ongoing mass protests against corruption. He later said he would not agree to head a new government unless it consisted of technocrats.

Lawmaker Neemat Frem urged citizens to provide him with the name of their favorite candidate to head the new government, “for you are the primary source of authority, and it is my duty to convey your voice in the binding parliamentary consultations.”

Lawmaker Chamel Roukoz said he will not nominate anyone for the position of prime minister.

Lawmaker Michel Daher declared his intention to boycott the parliamentary consultations if Al-Khatib is the only candidate.

Aoun assured a delegation of British financial and investment institutions, and US bank Morgan Stanley, that binding parliamentary consultations will take place on Monday to form a new government, which will help Lebanon’s friends launch agreed-to development projects.

“The new government’s priority will be to address the economic and financial conditions as soon as it is formed,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

Samir Al-Khatib is considered the most favored candidate after preliminary consultations conducted by Aoun with his allies prior to setting the date for binding parliamentary consultations to nominate a Sunni prime minister, as required by the Lebanese constitution.

On Friday, Hariri sent letters to the leaders of a number of countries with good relations with Lebanon. 

He asked them to help Lebanon secure credit to import goods from these countries, in order to ensure food security and availability of raw materials for production in various sectors.

His media office said the move “is part of his efforts to address the shortage of financial liquidity, and to secure procuring the basic import requirements for citizens.”

Among the leaders Hariri wrote to are Saudi Arabia’s King Salman; the presidents of France, Russia, Egypt and Turkey; the prime ministers of China and Italy; and the US secretary of state.

On Dec. 11, Paris is due to host a meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon. Reuters quoted a European source as saying: “France has already sent invitations to attend the group meeting.”

Protesters continued their sit-ins in front of government institutions in Nabatieh, Zahle and Saida.

In Tripoli, protesters blocked the city’s main roads, which were eventually reopened by the army.

In Akkar, protesters raided public institutions and called for an “independent government that fights corruption, restores looted funds, and rescues the economic situation and living conditions from total collapse.”

Lebanese designer Robert Abi Nader canceled a fashion show that was due to be organized in Downtown Beirut, where protesters are gathering. 

Abi Nader said he intended through his show to express support for the protests by designing a special outfit called “the bride of the revolution,” and revenues were to be dedicated to families in need.