Iran has banned all forms of merchandise related to the popular cartoon series The Simpsons in the country, claimed a report by Reuters on Monday, with the cartoon family joining Barbie as the latest American pop culture icon targeted by the nation’s morality police.
"We do not want to promote this cartoon by importing the toys," said Mohammad Hossein Farjoo, whose full title in the government is the Secretary for Policy-making at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Tehran.
According to Farjoo, the values promoted on the television show reflected all the negative elements of western culture, particularly as numerous episodes often portrayed anti-religious and individualistic themes.
According to Reuters, the Islamic Republic's morality police have been going into overdrive in recent months to fight "Western intoxication" as the dispute between the country and the rest of world over nuclear technology continued to raise fears of war.
But Farjoo insists that his agency were not targeting all Western toys, but rather just those with negative values; noting that toys of other American pop culture icons such as Superman and Spiderman were still available in stores across the country.
Western toys are a popular commodity in Iran, with many young people following Western culture avidly and often obtaining illegal products on the black market.
In 2011, Iran imported $57 million worth of toys. Officials believe some $20 million more worth of toys were smuggled across the border in the same year.