Iran became the first country to officially ban the popular augmented reality game Pokemon GO, on Friday by the Iranian Internet Community due to national security concerns. Users have found a way to download and play the game, although they are now being arrested for catchin’ them all.

In an interview with the Tasnim News Agency, Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, general secretary of the regime’s Internet Supervisory and Monitoring of Iran Committee, stated Pokemon Go was banned by a unanimous decision of the committee that argued the game was a risk for national security. He added that the game might endanger the safety of Iranians.

The Iranian Internet Community banned Friday the augmented reality game Pokemon GO in Iran. Photo credit: Broken News
The Iranian Internet Community banned Friday the augmented reality game Pokemon GO in Iran. Photo credit: Broken News

The Internet Committee is in charge of supervising online activities in Iran and is led by the Iranian attorney general. This committee is better known as the High Council of Virtual Space and was worried about the popular and addictive game since it burst as an augmented reality game, which uses Google Maps data to help you locate the untrained monsters.

But before the ban, Pokemon Go was approved by the Iranian National Institute of Computer Games. The Institute monitors the internet and has the power to regulate virtual gaming, and according to Khoramabadi, the High Council of Virtual Space did not base its decision on a thorough investigation of the real threats that Pokemon Go represents to the country.

Committed Pokemon trainers overcome Iranian government’s ban 

Pokemon Go is famous and very appreciated around the world, including in countries with restricted access to the internet and all the possibilities it offers.

This applies to Iranians, which have found alternative ways to access the game to become a Pokemon trainer.

Iranians reach the app through online sites based on the country and according to VOA, millennial Iranians, the game has become and obsession in Iran as in the rest of the world.

Lida Ahmadi, a game developer in Tabriz, told VOA that obtaining the game through the Iranian Android market is legally impossible. The same happens if you tried to download Pokemon Go from Google Market. The government has control of what is sold and used in Iran and control both the Iranian Android Market, known as the Bazar, and the Google Market.

But Ahmadi says that users still find a way to get Pokemon Go and use the Virtual Private Network (VPN) to get by the government’s internet eyes and download the game on their phones.

But Iran’s moral police unit, the Gashte Ershad, has caught players that were trying to catch Pokemon in buses in Tehran, or in parks and restaurants in Hafeziyeh, a famous tourist site in Shiraz.

Rumors said that the moral police unit has arrested Pokemon users on the street, and then erased the game from their cell phones.

Pokemon Go trainers in Iran have complained through Twitter, which is also banned in Iran, and they say that is hard to catch ’em all while looking out for the Gashte Ershad.

Source: VOA News