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Iran’s favorite ride-sharing app was secretly available on the App Store

Iran’s favorite ride-sharing app was secretly available on the App Store


Despite US sanctions

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

A popular Iranian ride-sharing app that was kicked off the App Store appeared to return this week under a new name, despite American sanctions.

Iran has faced years of sanctions from the United States, most recently after the country responded to the killing of General Qasem Soleimani by firing missiles on military bases in Iraq that housed US troops.

In 2017, after a round of US sanctions were placed against the country, Apple removed several Iranian apps from its App Store to stay in compliance. Among those apps was an Uber-like ride-hailing service called Snapp, which has proven to be popular in the country.

This week, though, some iPhone users noticed something strange about an app called RadickRadio. While the app appeared to be some sort of streaming radio service, users accessing it from an Iranian IP address were able to use Snapp instead.

Video of the issue quickly popped up on social media:

After being alerted to the app, Apple removed RadickRadio from its store, but declined to comment further. Snapp and RadickRadio did not respond to requests for comment.

Tensions between Iran and the US appeared to hit a boiling point this year after the Soleimani killing, and the tech industry will inevitably continue to be caught up in sanctions. The incident illustrates the difficulty of keeping up with geopolitical policy in a digital world.