Whether Iran’s ruling regime improves its behavior won’t depend on how many of their citizens can use their phones to hail taxis. Yet U.S. sanctions are preventing American technology companies from offering Iranian-made apps in their online stores -- a bad bargain for both U.S. business and policy.
Apple has removed the apps from its App Store out of an abundance of caution. Google followed suit last week, taking down Iranian apps for Android phones. U.S. law prohibits American companies from doing business in Iran, though the government grants exceptions for the national interest. In that spirit, and to support the emergence of a Westernized middle class in Iran, the U.S. government should make clear that the apps are allowed.