TEHRAN Feb 6 The Simpsons are corroding
the morals of Iranian youth, an official said on Monday, as
dolls based on Bart, Homer and the rest of the American cartoon
family joined the shapely Barbie among Western toys targeted by
a new crackdown in Tehran.
"The Simpsons dolls are merchandise from an animated series,
of which some episodes are even banned in Europe and America,"
Mohammad Hossein Farjoo, whose agency oversees what Iranian
children can play with, told the Sharq newspaper. He did not
elaborate on what episodes might have been censored elsewhere.
"We do not want to promote this cartoon by importing the
toys," added Farjoo, whose full title is Secretary for
Policy-making at the Institute for the Intellectual Development
of Children and Young Adults in Tehran.
Though Iran's economy is labouring under Western sanctions
against its nuclear programme, foreign goods, including genuine
and counterfeit toys like Barbie and the Simpsons, are widely
sold. Merchants say new efforts to implement bans that have been
in place before mean the merchandise is getting harder to obtain
from wholesalers and shops prefer not to display the wares.
The Islamic Republic's morality police, fighting "Western
intoxication" as the dispute over nuclear technology has raised
fears of war, last month went on a drive against Barbie.
The American doll's full figure and revealing wardrobe
particularly offend Iran's leaders, who decree that women must
be fully swathed in loose-fitting clothes in public. "Imports of
all kinds of dolls that display full adult figures are banned
because they promote Western culture," Farjoo said.
It was not clear in what regard the irreverent Simpsons
family had offended Iranian regulations - most versions of the
cartoon dolls are hardly anatomically accurate.
However, while Farjoo said that all-American super-heroes
like Superman and Spiderman were still welcome in Iran - because
they do battle for the oppressed - the values of the Simpsons, a
famously self-centred and irreligious bunch, were not.
Their popularity in Iran is hard to gauge; those with access
to foreign satellite channels are familiar with the Fox
Television cartoon. But it is not shown in Iran, relieving local
networks of finding a translation for Bart Simpson's singular
response to tiresome instructions of all kinds: "Eat my shorts!"
(Reporting by Mitra Amiri; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and