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US Sanctions

The local socio-cultural context among Iranian gamers is further impacted by US sanctions that have, at least on paper, prevents Iranian access to online video games. Coupled with the fact that Iranian games are deeply censored by the video game industry, maximum pressure policy under the administration of Donald Trump has sought to ratchet economic sanctions upon the Iranian government, which consequently produces punitive measures that prevent Iranians from accessing digital subscription services and basic communication platforms such as email over the internet. Despite these hurdles, Iranians use VPSs and pre-paid debit cards to prevent their online isolation from the global gaming community. While Iranian gamers purport that access to games is about enjoyment and fun, the aspiration to gaming normativity implicates a political and economic reality undergirded by international controls.