Countries such as North Korea, Iran, or Syria, as well as specific zones such as Crimea, are US sanctioned countries, meaning you are not supposed to do business with them. If you’ve recently opened a business bank account, you may have had to sign a document confirming you will not do any business with entities in those sanctioned areas at the risk of losing access to your bank account.
For physical goods that’s pretty straightforward, but for online services, there’s more of a grey area, as people tend to move around. Nevertheless, there have been reports sanctions are now affecting users in Iran and Crimea, as Github has started to restrict the account of users who are registered in US sanctioned countries. Github is now owned by Microsoft, and large multinationals can’t just fly under the radar, and ignore rules and regulations.
Due to U.S. trade control law restrictions, your GitHub account has been restricted. For individual accounts, you may have limited access to free GitHub public repository services for personal communications only, Please read about Github and Trade Controls for more information. If you believe your account has been flagged in error, please file an appeal.
Those users are not completely blocked, as they have limited access to public repositories, but they have lost access to private repositories.
Some Iran developers have now started a “github-do-not-ban-us” page on Github (so public repo are still OK) to appeal to Github, and it looks like things are progressing a bit since private repositories can be made public, and developers can access those.
One temporary solution would be to use other services such as Gitlab, but it’s based in San Francisco so not necessarily a good way to go forward. They could potentially install Gitlab on their own server, but obviously, they’d somewhat lose access to the larger Github community as they’d be harder to find.