TEHRAN – 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, shopkeepers said on Monday.
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
“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 U.S.
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