It was announced today that Pokemon Go will be unavailable to trainers in Iran. The decision was produced by the overseers of cyberspace in Iran, dubbed the High Council of Virtual Spaces. They cite that there is uncertainty in the security of Pokemon Go’s collection of information.
They do not stand alone in their concerns with the popular phone app. In France, a player reportedly walked on to a secure military base by accident. Indonesia has forced their police force to expel the app from their phones. New York state has taken precautions in regards to sex offenders and the app, banning those who are listed in the public registry.
This is not the first time the Pokemon series has faced censorship in Iran. In 2001, a Saudi cleric said that the game enabled gambling and produced prohibited images, eliciting a fatwa, or religious ruling, against the popular trading card game. It was claimed that the game had ties to Christianity through imagery of the cross. These symbols from “devious religions”, claimed by the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, are used throughout the game.
A member of the council, Sheikh Saleh al-Fozan was cited as saying the same edict released against the earlier game applies to the new app. However, these edicts are only for the general acceptance of the scholarly union. Any scholar, says the BBC, can pronounce a fatwa, and that its influence may not extend past that particular scholar’s region. In other words, there is a lot of people in Iran that these edicts do no affect.
Pokemon Go is still available throughout the rest of the known world. The EYNTKAPG (Everything You Need to Know About Pokemon Go) is still regularly updated, so be sure to check back often for more information.