Iran’s morality police are cracking down on the sale of Barbie dolls to protect the public from what they see as pernicious western culture eroding Islamic values.
As the West imposes the toughest ever sanctions on Iran and tensions rise over its nuclear programme, inside the country the Barbie ban is part of what the government calls a “soft war” against decadent cultural influences.
“About three weeks ago, they (the morality police) came to our shop, asking us to remove all the Barbies,” said a shopkeeper in a toy shop in northern Tehran.
Iran’s religious rulers first declared Barbie, made by US company Mattel Inc, un-Islamic in 1996, citing its “destructive cultural and social consequences.” Despite the ban, the doll has until recently been openly on sale in Tehran shops.
The new order, issued around three weeks ago, forced shopkeepers to hide the leggy, busty blonde behind other toys as a way of meeting popular demand for the dolls while avoiding being closed down by the police.
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