Most hosting companies denied any services to Iran. The companies introduce automated checks of transactions and contact details to sieve Iranian businesses and “flag” them.

The reason cited as sanctions by the international community or by OFAC through the United Nations Security Council.

In May 2018, President Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and reinstated all previously lifted sanctions.

According to General License D-1 published by United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control on Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulations, US-based entities barred from offering web-hosting services to commercial endeavors or domain name registration services to Iranians.

Iranians banned from using US-based payment services, and they cannot purchase applications and games via conventional app stores. They use alternative app stores common in China and Russia.

The international sanctions imposed on the Iranian economy were eased last year as part of the nuclear deal (better known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). The deal was signed between the government of President Hassan Rouhani and P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany) in 2015. In exchange, Iran agreed to limit the scope of its nuclear activities.

Iran lays heavy censorship on the Internet and social media apps.
Article 751 of the Islamic Penal Code regarding Internet crimes says that the companies providing hosting services are required to abstain from offering any assistance to websites filtered in the country.

ArvanCloud and Cafe Bazaar in Iran trying to provide cloud services to app developers in the country.

Due of the ban and sanctions from most of the tech companies, the Iranian developers are forced to think migrating out of the country. The state surveillance and overreaching restrictions brings a large question of Internet freedom and its borderless concept as well. The technology connects the people, however in Iran, it is a step back due to political pressure to block certain territories. The Iranian tech community is finding the new ways to connect to the world. The developers are in need of US-based tools and technology solutions and are at a huge disadvantage. The developers uses digital circumvention tools such as VPNs and proxy servers to avoid snooping.

Effects of ban and sanctions

  • Amazon Web Services, GitHub, Slack, Firebase, Google Analytics, email broadcast services such as Sendgrid and Mailgun and Google Cloud stopped providing its services because of trade restrictions.
  • Apple removed the Iranian iOS applications
  • Iranian not able to use credit cards and digital payment services to purchase software or hardware
  • Several popular taxi-hailing, food delivery, and shopping apps becoming non-usable

The Internet Health Report produced every year by Mozilla, the editorial decided to omit a whole section on Iran 2019.

Latest News

  • (OCTOBER 8, 2019) According to an order issued by the deputy prosecutor general in charge of cyberspace, Javad Javidnia, on August 31, 2019, the Iranian domestic hosting companies cease to provide services to filtered banned websites. Now the sites containing censored news and information have to move content to foreign hosting providers or go offline. Any company that violates this order will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.
  • Digital Ocean stopped providing services to Iran-based clients in January 2019.