World of Warcraft developers Blizzard Entertainment have cut off access to the massively multiplayer role playing game and other titles that use the company's Battle.net account system for players in Iran.

Gamers initially assumed it was technical problems or actions by the Iranian government that prevented them from accessing their profiles, but Blizzard took to its forums to explain that US trade sanctions prevent them from offering services to the rogue state.

"What we can tell you is that United States trade restrictions and economic sanction laws prohibit Blizzard from doing business with residents of certain nations, including Iran. Several of you have seen and cited the text in the Terms of Use which relates to these government-imposed sanctions," a statement by a Blizzard member of staff.

"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."

Players in Iran will not be able to attain refunds, credits, transfers or other services to their accounts due to the same sanctions, but the firm will be ready and willing to lift the restrictions as soon as the US law changes.

Iranians have found they are able to access Blizzard's Battle.net titles through using a proxy server outside of the country, which was one of the indications that the restrictions were geographical.

This is not the first time that gamers in Iran have been unable to access a particular game. First person shooter Battlefield 3 has been banned, although it is slightly more understandable given the fact the title features a US-led invasion of Iran.

Iranian gamers will be disappointed that the ban comes just ahead of the release of the fourth World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria. Among the new content the game adds, it will also unlock all the races for all players, although not all classes, irrespective of which expansions you have bought.ADNFCR-1220-ID-801438196-ADNFCR
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