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Samsung to block mobile app store in Iran as sanctions bite

Tells users 'legal barriers' are reason for canning Farsi service

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Samsung is blocking access to its mobile app store in Iran from next month, an action believed to be part of international sanctions over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.

Customers of the Korean tech giant in Iran received notification on Wednesday night by email that the online marketplace would be out of action as of May 22, according to AP.

However, the statement apparently does not directly refer to sanctions but instead gives “legal barriers” as the reason for the move.

Local media reports spotted by Ars Technica confirmed the statement and urged users to update their apps before the cut-off date.

There have also been rumours from some users that the firm is seeking to provide an “alternative service”, although just how it could do this without breaking the same sanctions is unclear.

As AP states, Samsung is one of the few international technology players which offers a localised service in the Persian or Farsi language.

In fact, Apple suffered a rather embarrassing PR disaster last year when a student in the US state of Georgia was banned from buying a shiny fondleslab because the store employee heard her speaking Farsi.

The Register tried to get more details from Samsung HQ but had not heard back at the time of writing.

The sanctions in question, are designed to be both carrot and stick - to prevent Iran continuing with its nuclear program and persuade it to co-operate more meaningfully with the international community.

This is the same program, of course, which the Stuxnet virus is believed to have been launched in an attempt to disrupt. ®

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