Iran Bans ‘Pokemon Go’ for Security Reasons

People playing Pokemon Go app outside Buckingham Palace in London / AP
August 8, 2016

The popular "Pokemon Go" mobile game is now banned in Iran after authorities deemed it to be a security threat.

Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency on Monday quoted the head of Iran’s Supreme Council of Virtual Space, Abolhasan Firouzabadi, saying the game is "not appropriate" because of government concerns over its use of "location-based virtual reality technology," the Associated Press reported.

Firouzabadi said that any such game or application would need to get permission from Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.

"Pokemon Go" has become one of the most downloaded games in history and is particularly popular with millennials.

Iran has banned other foreign creations in the past for security reasons, and has even prohibited the use of of common words on religious grounds, arguing they are Western creations that threaten Iran’s Islamic culture. A top Iranian commander destroyed over 100,000 satellite dishes last month, saying they lead to "increased divorce, addiction, and insecurity in society" and "deviate [Iran’s] morality and culture."

"Pokemon Go" has also been surrounded by controversy, as people have made news playing the game to find Pokemon creatures in solemn locations, including the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Arlington National Cemetery. Safety-related issues have been raised surrounding the game, with players venturing into dangerous locations to find the virtual creatures.

Published under: Iran