Battlefield 3 banned in Iran

Iranian gamers hoping to get their hands on Battlefield 3 will be sorely disappointed, as the country has officially banned EA‘s latest shooter.

A police spokesperson, working with the security and intelligence division said in a statement:

All computer stores are prohibited from selling this illegal game.

Why? The game features an American war force launching an assault on Iranian capital city Tehran.

The Iran scenario – one of the first to be revealed from the best-selling game – opens on fictional US forces fighting near the Iran-Iraq border before moving to Tehran under threat of nuclear warfare.

This is one occasion where the realism depicted in video games has caused backlash: Various locations within Tehran are represented with alarming accuracy – including an assortment of industrial and urban settings as well as military spots. One scene is set within the city’s iconic Grand Bazaar.

It’s not just the government who is upset by the game’s release, either. A group of “Iranian youths” have also launched an online protest and petition over content in BF3:

We understand that the story of a videogame is hypothetical … (but) we believe the game is purposely released at a time when the US is pushing the international community into fearing Iran.

Their petition has already gathered more than 5,000 signatories.

[img_big]center,7473,2011-09-16/tehran.jpg,Tehran in Battlefield 3[/img_big]

Officially, EA has no resellers in Iran, meaning the game is not easily legally available within its borders. However, pirated copies have been in heavy circulation, alongside an assortment of other major video games and computer software.

Some stores which freely stock illicit copies of other titles anticipated a crackdown on Battlefield 3, and have opted not to sell the game since its release.

This may have been a wise decision – reports claim police raids have resulted in the arrest of some shop owners who chose to sell the game “secretly”.

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