Microsoft-owned GitHub restricts accounts in areas facing U.S. sanctions, including Iran and Syria

The GitHub Octocat on the floor of the company’s San Francisco headquarters. (Steve Fadden Photo, via Flickr, Creative Commons.)

Developers using GitHub in Iran, Syria and other areas facing U.S. sanctions have been blocked from accessing important parts of the Microsoft-owned code repository.

GitHub CEO Nat Friedman tweeted out the new restrictions, and the company added more information via a statement on its website. News of the restrictions comes after some developers Iran and Crimea said GitHub blocked their accounts.

GitHub also lists North Korea and Cuba as countries where it restricted services. Users in those countries will still have access to part of GitHub, primarily its free services and public repositories. Developers in the sanctioned countries will be barred from accessing private repositories, GitHub Marketplace, and maintaining private paid organization accounts.

The new restrictions apply to all users located in the sanctioned countries. GitHub set up an appeal process for developers who feel they have been unfairly targeted and want to challenge the decision.

Friedman’s comments sparked outrage from some Twitter users who implored him to either move the company out of the U.S. or refuse to comply with sanctions. Friedman responded to a number of comments with a similar answer: “If you do any business in the U.S., you have to obey U.S. trade laws.”