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'Simpsons' Dolls Reportedly Banned In Iran

The Simpsons: Marge, Lisa, Maggie, Bart, and Homer (left to right)
The Simpsons: Marge, Lisa, Maggie, Bart, and Homer (left to right)
Iran's Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults has reported a ban on the sales of dolls depicting characters from the animated U.S. comedy series "The Simpsons."

Western news agencies and the Iranian newspaper "Sharq" quote an official of that agency as saying the "Simpsons" dolls have joined Barbie and others on the Islamic republic's toys blacklist.

Adults aren't beyond Iranian authorities' cultural reach, either, particularly since hard-liner Mahmud Ahmadinejad assumed the presidency in 2005.

Since that time, officials have banned "Western" hairstyles (there's a list of "approved" haircuts) as well as books by internationally acclaimed authors like Gabriel Garcia Marquez (and plenty of their own acclaimed writers, too) -- including at their own international book fair. Wikipedia devotes a whole entry to "List of books banned in Iran."

Conservative Iranian authorities also heavily filter or otherwise censor music and Internet offerings where possible -- and threaten users of antifiltering tools with criminal prosecution.

There were no details in the report on why the "Simpsons" dolls were banned, or how Matt Groening's edgy sitcom about a dysfunctional family might offend Iranians any more than it does Americans.

But AP quoted the official, Mohammad Hossein Farjoo, as noting that dolls with distinguishable genitals are banned, as are dolls depicting adults.

He said dolls depicting U.S. superhero cartoon characters Superman and Spider-Man would not be banned because those characters "help oppressed people and have a positive stance."

-- Central Newsroom

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