Iran May Ban Traffic App Waze (Again) Because Israelis Invented It

Waze logo. Image courtesy of Waze.

For second time this year, an Iranian government body is urging a ban on the traffic mobile application Waze—because it was invented in Israel. The Iranian government’s ‎Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content is calling upon the country’s Information and Communications Technology Ministry to block the app, according to the Trend News Agency out of Azerbaijain, citing Iranian media outlets.

Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, secretary for the Committee, reportedly said that work has been designated to block Waze in Iran, but that that process is complicated and takes time.

The Trend report further cited a previous report from the Iranian Fars News Agency saying there are concerns about Waze’s Israeli background. The app was originally invented by Israeli company Waze Mobile before being sold to Google for more than $1 billion in 2013. Iran has previously tried to ban Waze—in March of this year—but later rescinded the restriction. Former United States Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro highlighted the impact of banning Waze in Iran on Twitter in responding to the report. “Considering the reputation of Tehran traffic, that is real dedication to a (sick) cause. Enjoy sitting in those jams!” tweeted Shapiro.

The former American official wasn’t the only one rebutting Iran for banning the useful Israeli product. International lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky tweeted, “Maybe #Iran was afraid @waze would give directions to their illicit secret nuclear weapons making facilities?”

Back when Waze sold to Google, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated the team in comments released by his office. “You put Israeli technology on the global map!” Netanyahu said at the time.

But while Waze may have helped put Israel on the “global map”, the country that’s threatened to wipe Israel off the map doesn’t want their product anymore—regardless of the benefit.

Former Israeli IDF spokesman and retired Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, in his own Twitter post on the report about Iran, noted that there are other technological innovations that started in Israel as well, including the device that uses Waze—would Iran want to ban it?

Tweeted Lerner, “#Iran to block @waze due to its #Israeli roots. Are they going to stop using cellphones too?”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, October 9, 2017)

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