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Samsung to block app store access in Iran, AP says

The news service notes that the store will be taken offline as of May 22 because of "legal barriers."

Samsung is opening "Samsung Experience Shops" in Best Buy venues to showcase its mobile products.
Shara Tibken/CNET
Iranian device users will lose access to Samsung's mobile app store as of May 22, according to a new report.

The Korean electronics giant said, via an e-mail sent to smartphone and tablet users, that it couldn't provide access to the store because of "legal barriers," the Associated Press reported. Many sanctions have been imposed on Iran over its controversial nuclear program, and Samsung's step is viewed as the latest such move.

Samsung declined to comment.

The AP noted that "unlike Apple, Microsoft and Adobe, Samsung has provided localized services to Iranians in their native Persian language." It also isn't the first handset vendor to pull back from Iran. Nokia last year stopped its services in the country, the AP said.

Major technology companies walk a fine line when it comes to dealing with customers in rogue nations. In 2011, reports emerged that Hewlett-Packard's technology was being used as part of a surveillance program by the Syrian government, and other companies like NetApp and Blue Coat Systems have faced scrutiny for possibly selling products to Syria. The companies largely have denied knowledge that their devices were being distributed in the Middle Eastern country.