But that fatwa hasn't stopped shop owners from selling those evil dolls in their stores. The mullahs might find Barbie and Ken dolls distasteful, but the average Iranian is just as taken with the cultural icons as people in the West. But the Iranian Jane-Q might have a harder time finding Barbie as a result of a recent crackdown by the Iranian morality police.
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 program, inside the country the Barbie ban is part of what the government calls a “soft war” against decadent cultural influences.
“About three weeks ago the morality police came to our shop, asking us to remove all the Barbies,” said a shopkeeper in a toy store in northern Tehran.
As a replacement for the un-Islamic Barbie and Ken, the Iranian government in 2002 approved of Sara and Dara: plump, modestly and traditionally dressed female and male dolls that were deemed kosher for Iranian consumption.
But that hasn't quite work out as planned, because people still want their Barbies.
“My daughter prefers Barbies. She says Sara and Dara are ugly and fat,” said Farnaz, a 38-year-old mother, adding that she could not find Barbie cartoon DVDs because she was told they were also banned from public sale.
Though they were openly sold in shops in spite of the ban, the Iranian government's latest Barbie clampdown has the shop owners scuttling to hide those harbingers of Western cultural decadence behind Iranian-sanctioned toys.
Pointing to a doll covered in black long veil, a 40-year-old Tehran toy shop manager said: “We still sell Barbies, but secretly and put these in the window to make the police think we are just selling these kinds of dolls.”
I wonder if Barbie wore a veil would she be state-approved?
Oh, and remember that U.S. spy drone that Iran claims it allegedly shot down, although there is debate as to whether it actually crash landed? Replicas available in a slew of different colors will be available in toy stores soon.