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Despite this, the company has been removing a number of popular Iranian apps over the past few weeks, and now, it says US sanctions require it to do so.

Translation: 11 percent of the cellphone market in Iran belongs to Apple.

"Under the US sanctions regulations, the App Store can not host, distribute or do business with apps or developers connected to certain USA embargoed countries", reads a message Apple sent to app developers.

Certain shopping and food delivery apps were removed in the previous weeks.

Mahdi Taghizadeh, a founder of DelionFoods, an online food delivery service, said his app was among those taken down.

Snapp was one of the apps the New York Times said was removed from the App Store. "Imagine if in the USA, you wouldn't be able to get Uber on your phone".

As Apple takes Iranian apps down, their Android counterparts remain untouched so far in the Google Play app store.

In February, Apple told Iranian developers to remove any payment options in their apps to prevent Iranian money from entering the United States, a violation of the sanctions.

"The full removal of Iranian apps by Apple means our work will be much more complicated", he added. "We'll pursue the removal of [Iranian] apps", said Azari Jahromi on his Twitter page. He tweeted about the situation Friday.

Many Iranians using social media criticized the Apple decision and have created #StopRemovingIranianApps to show their anger over the move.

"As a USA company, we remain committed to full compliance with USA export controls and sanctions", a Google spokesperson said.

Twitter user Mohammad Rasul who is a tech enthusiast tweeted: "All the apps deleted from the App Store, does not have any relation to Iranian government!" Today, respecting the rights of consumers is a principle which Apple has violated.

In addition to blocking Twitter, the Iranian government has long blocked Facebook and YouTube.

But the Trump administration has adopted a more hawkish posture, putting the 2016 nuclear deal under review, modifying the existing sanction regime and then introducing a fresh round of sanctions last month in response to Iranian ballistic missile tests. He has a history of advocating for online freedoms in Iran.

"We are unable to include your app on the App Store".