Google, Apple remove some restrictions on technology to Iran

The move follows a U.S. decision to lift sanctions on some personal communications technology

Google has told Android developers that they can start offering free apps in Iran, while Apple has removed Iran from among the countries to which sales of its products are prohibited.

"Developers, starting today you can make your free apps available in Iran," Google said in a Google+ post on Monday.

The move appears to be linked to the U.S decision in May to lift sanctions on the export of a variety of consumer communications devices and software and services including mobile phones to Iran.

Exports of the devices to Iran had been blocked since the 1990s, but ahead of presidential elections in the June in the country, the U.S. decided that its new license would empower the Iranian people as the Iranian government intensifies its efforts to stifle their access to information.

The export of equipment to the Iranian government or to any individual or entity on a Specially Designated Nationals list, however, continued to be prohibited.( Technology covered under the new license were fee-based services, software and hardware required for personal communications over the Internet, including instant messaging, email, chat, social networking, sharing of photos and movies, web browsing and blogging.

The products, software and services now authorized for export to Iran also include mobile phones, personal digital assistants, satellite phones, computers, consumer network equipment, anti-tracking software, anti-censorship tools, virtual private networks, proxy tools and voice-over-IP and video chat tools.

Google said Monday that the new distribution option for developers is currently available only for free apps and not for priced apps or apps that use in-app billing. The new general license authorizes financial transactions related to the products it covers, said the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. The move by Google will give Iranians access to a number of important tools which activists use to protect themselves from surveillance, but developers have to still opt to make their apps available in Iran, it said.

Google's competitor Apple has also apparently removed Iran from its list of prohibited destinations for its products like the iPhone, iPad and Mac and associated software, citing the new general license in May. The list now includes Cuba, Syria, North Korea and Sudan. On an Apple support community, a user wanted to know how to contact Apple to set up a store in the country.

Both companies did not immediately comment.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobile applicationsAppleGoogleregulationmobilegovernmentinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?