Despite the home warnings of Pokémon Go "Do not play Pokémon Go while driving" and "Do not enter dangerous areas while playing Pokémon Go.", Iranian officials still raises security concerns over the gameplay of the virtual reality app. As a result, Pokémon Go is officially outlawed in Iran making the country the first one to do so.

Pokémon Go is a virtual reality smartphone game which enables the player to capture “Pocket Monsters” called “Pokémon” with pokeballs and these Pokémons can be traded (later on the future updates), battled with and trained in gyms. The mechanics of capturing a Pokemon requires travelling to various places. Pokeballs and other evolution items can also be gathered by searching for poke stops around a certain area.

Iranian Officials' Concerns

The banning of the game is solely due to security reasons for the game features catching Pokémon by searching on to various locations that may include hazardous places such as highways, treacherous slopes and private government lands like military camps. Players might also wander around inaccessible places that can risk their safety at any times.

 “Any game that wants to operate nationwide in Iran needs to obtain permission from the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, and the Pokémon Go app has not yet requested such permission,” says Abolhasan Firouzabadi, the head of Iran’s supreme council of virtual space in Tasnim, a semi-official news agency. “There are many problems with the game and security-wise, it can create problems for the country and our people,” he added.


Moreover the topic, one of the reasons that led to Iran’s decision is religion related. Pokémon Go drew criticism from the Islamic religion and later was issued a fatwa, a religious ruling against the app.  The game’s goal is to train a Pokémon and reach its highest form by different evolution process. This alone hints the evolution theory which was rejected by some Islamic views although, it varies.

The Impact of Pokémon Go

Since the release, the game gathered more than a million downloads to date. The game went available in some countries in July before expanding to 15 Asian countries in early August having 250 million estimated players currently. Other Asian countries that are still on the waiting list are India, China and Korea.


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