"Like most other American businesses, Apple doesn't have a store in Iran and doesn't sell its products in a country targeted with tough economic sanctions by President Donald Trump. But at a shop in Tehran, Iranians can buy an array of Apple tech gadgets, including iPhones and Mac laptops. It's not an official Apple store approved by the Silicon Valley tech giant, but the company's sleek smartphones and watches make their way into the country anyway. "I think this is the best brand in the world for any computer," the young shop owner, standing in front of an "Apple store" sign, told NBC News' Lester Holt. "These are very popular here." The bustling shop illustrates how Iranian businesses try to sidestep the chilling effect of U.S. sanctions imposed by Trump, and that at least some citizens still have enough spending money to afford the latest tech consumer item." (NBC News, "Iranian people try to sidestep Trump's tough sanctions," 8/19/2019).
"Apple Inc. has blocked enterprise programs due to its rule for app distribution policy, which is worldwide and is not limited to Iran, head of the Information Technology Organization of Iran, Amir Nazemi, told Mehr on Thursday." (Tehran Times, "Apple's enterprise program block is not limited to Iran: official," 3/1/2019).
"iPhone users in Iran discovered today that they’re no longer able to access the App Store, in what appears to be a total block of the country, according to Bleeping Computer. While Apple doesn’t sell phones or operate the App Store in Iran, Iranians could still import Apple products from another county and set them up to access portions of the App Store meant for other regions. It appears that now, Apple has closed that loophole, blocking any traffic coming from inside Iran from accessing the App Store in any capacity." (The Verge, "Apple appears to have totally cut off IRan from the App Store," 3/15/2018).
According to an August 2017 NYT article, “officially Apple has no presence in Iran. Because of American sanctions against the country, the company’s iPhones are not legally available for sale here, and Apple does not offer a version of its App Store in the country….Apple told Iranian developers in February to remove any payment options in their apps to prevent Iranian money from entering the United States in violation of the sanctions. Iran had developed its own internal online payment system, shaparak, in response to the sanctions. After the Apple notice, almost all Iranian apps, including Snapp, switched to shaparak, cash and other methods of payment.”
Reports coming out of Iran suggest that Apple has allegedly started removing iOS apps originating from the country’s startups and developers. Prior to this, Apple had, in a limited manner, opened up its App Store to Iranians in September 2016 and appeared to be gradually lifting some of the limitations, periodically, since then. According to credible tech news site Techrasa, the biggest Iranian e-commerce service, Digikala, which has millions of users, had its app removed from the App Store just a few days ago. While there is no official App Store available for the territory of Iran, many companies registered their apps as being outside of Iran to be able to get onto the store. (TechCrunch, "Apple Has Allegedly Began Removing Iranian iOS Apps from the App Store," 1/29/2017).