Barbie invades Iran

Iran’s top prosecutor has warned of the “destructive” social and cultural consequences Barbie dolls are having on his country.

“The irregular importation of such toys, which unfortunately arrive through unofficial sources and smuggling, is destructive culturally and a social danger,” Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabadi wrote in a letter to Parviz Davoudi, Iran’s vice-president.

Increased oil revenues in recent years have led to a dramatic rise in purchasing power in Iran, and markets have been flooded with smuggled Western toys, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Najafabadi estimates that Iran is the world’s third-biggest importer of toys and claims that foreign toys pose a threat to the “personality and identity” of Iranian children.

“The appearance of personalities such as Barbie, Batman, Spiderman and Harry Potter and… computer games and movies are all a danger warning to the officials in the cultural arena.”

While importing the toys is not illegal, it is discouraged by Teheran, which wants to protect young Iranians from what it perceives as the negative effects of Western culture.

“Undoubtedly, the personality and identity of the new generation and our children, as a result of unrestricted importation of toys, has been put at risk and caused irreparable damages,” Mr Najafabadi said.

In 1996, the head of a government-backed children’s agency labelled Barbie a “Trojan horse” that was sneaking in Western influences such as makeup and revealing clothes.

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