Hundreds of Iranian gamers reported last week that their internet service providers had begun to block access to a long list of popular online games
including World of Warcraft and Diablo 3.
One player, an Iranian freelance reporter uploaded a picture of a pamphlet recently distributed by Iran's
culture and Islamic guidance ministry warning against World of Warcraft.
Until recently the Iranian government did not impose censorship on computer games or limit computer game sales, and then it banned Battlefield 3, which includes an American invasion against Iran among other scenarios.
The user posted a screenshot of the government’s message that lists reasons for the block, which includes the “promotion of superstition and mythology.”
Among the other reasons noted for the block were: Promotion of violence due to too much violence, abolishing the deformation in sin, demonstration of inappropriate clothing and slutty outfits for female avatars.
The Iranian government is currently working on deploying an alternative internet network, 'Ya Haq' with the purpose of blocking Iranians from access to the world outside the Islamic Republic.
The network is in line with Islamic law (Sharia) and bans pornography, alcohol, heresy, drugs, and gaming related content. The government is also working on developing an alternative search engine and even an internal social network.
A group of gamers announced that a large number of online games other than World of Warcraft and Diablo 3 which were developed by Blizzard. Other games mentioned were the beta version of Guild Wars 2 and Second Life.
The Blizzard forums later posted: “United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran.”
“This week, Blizzard tightened up its procedures to ensure compliance with these laws, and players connecting from the affected nations are restricted from access to Blizzard games and services.
“This also prevents us from providing any refunds, credits, transfers, or other service options to accounts in these countries.”
So it would seem that it is not in fact the Iranian government that is behind the content block, rather the sanctions against Iran that are to blame.
Several similar cases were reported recently including Apple employees refusing to sell products to customers speaking Persian or identifying themselves as Iranians.