**FILE** This file image from the game "World of Warcraft" was provided by its publisher, Blizzard Entertainment. (AP Photo/Blizzard Entertainment, file)

London - An employee of the Activision Blizzard gaming company says US sanctions are to blame for locking Iranian players out of the popular online fantasy role-playing adventure World Of Warcraft.

Iranians have spent much of the past week peppering the company's message board with complaints about how they are unable to connect to the massive multiplayer game, which boasts more than 9 million subscribers worldwide.

A message recently left on the forum by a Blizzard employee says that the company had “tightened up its procedures” to ensure compliance with US sanctions.

The post went on to explain that “players connecting from the affected nations are restricted from access to Blizzard games and services.”

Repeated calls and emails to Jonnie Bryant, Blizzard's UK press representative, went unanswered on Tuesday. - Sapa-AP