Citing security concerns, Iran has banned Pokemon Go, becoming the first country to declare a blanket curb on the game that caught the world's fancy last month.
Iran's High Council of Virtual Spaces issued the ban stating the game threatens national and individual security. The ban comes after Iranian National Institute of Computer Games reportedly approved Pokemon Go. The ban is expected to hurt thousands of gamers who have taken to the game which has not been announced for Iran.
Android users in the middle-east country have to download the game through local Android markets and use VPN to the play as the Islamic Republic of Iran imposes curbs on internet use. However, the game remains highly popular with Iranians.
Pokemon Go first launched July 6 after being beta-tested for months. In countries where the game was not officially launched, gamers downloaded APK from Android stores to play. Niantic later blocked access to the game in some countries while players in others countries where the game was not officially launched, continue to enjoy it.
The augmented reality game requires players to traverse a map of their city or town to catch critters called pocket monsters or Pokemon. Gamers in Iran like others across the world discuss and post snapshots of their catch online. A blanket ban on the game is the first for any country.
Countries including the US have imposed some curbs on Pokemon Go. In Indonesia, playing the game in the presidential palace and schools is banned while policemen are prohibited from playing when at work. Saudi Arabia renewed a 2001 fatwa or religious edict holding the game un-Islamic and banning it. In the US, state of New York has banned nearly 3,000 sex offenders from playing the game as it could lead them to children.