Iran's morality police crack down on Barbie

A woman photographs a wall of Barbie dolls in the Mattel display at the annual Toy Fair, February 14, 2010 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan Honda (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images) STAN HONDA

A wall of Barbie dolls is displayed at the 2010 Toy Fair in New York.
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

As if tensions between Iran and Western nations weren't strained enough, now Tehran is going after Barbie.

Reuters' Mitra Amiri reports that the nation's morality police - citing the influence of Western culture it deems antithetical to Islamic values - is cracking down on the sale of Barbie dolls.

Despite a government ban in 1996 against the dress-up doll made by Mattel, Barbies have been sold, though stories have had their inventories confiscated from time to time.

But Reuters reports toy shop owners in recent weeks have been visited by representatives of the morality police, working under orders to clear shelves of the perky doll.

Some retailers have been hiding the dolls, so that they can continue to meet demand, which outstrips demand for the officially sanctioned Sara doll (featuring traditional clothes that adhere to Islamic dress codes) and her twin brother, Dara.

One woman told Reuters her daughter, who preferred Barbie, called Dara and Sara "ugly and fat."

Meanwhile, boys aren't being ignored: After the FARS News Agency reported last month's brush-up over a downed U.S. drone craft (writing that "Obama Begs Iran to Give Him Back His Toy Plane"), someone had the bright idea to give it back, in a way. A toy version of the RQ-170 Sentinel spy drone will be available for sale, Reuters reports.

  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.

Comments