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Simpson dolls join Barbie on Iran ban list

An Iranian government-affiliated agency has banned dolls of the Simpsons cartoon characters, who join Barbie and others on a toy blacklist, an independent newspaper reported on Monday.

The report said that the Simpsons were banned to avoid the promotion of Western culture. But Superman and Spiderman were allowed, because they helped the "oppressed."

"We do not want to promote this cartoon by importing the toys," Shargh daily quoted Mohammad Hossein Farjoo, secretary of policymaking at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, as saying.

He did not elaborate on what was wrong with the Simpsons specifically. But he noted that any doll on which genitals are distinguishable, as well as dolls of adults, are banned. So were toys with speakers that blare out the voices of Western singers, or toy kitchen sets that include glasses for drinking alcoholic beverages.

Farjoo said however that dolls of Spiderman and Superman were authorized for sale. "They help oppressed people and they have a positive stance," he said.

The agency is the same that called Barbie dolls a "Trojan horse" in 1996. In January, police said they closed down dozens of toy shops for selling Barbies.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted a pro-Western monarchy, Iran has tried to fight Western cultural influence.

Despite bans on many books, movies, satellite TV channels, music, haircuts and fashion from the West, many young people follow Western culture avidly and can often obtain 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 the same year.

One-fourth of Iran's population of 75 million is under 15 years old. (AP)


<한글 기사>

"이란, `바비' 이어 '심슨' 인형도 판매 금지"

이란 당국이 바비인형에 이어 미국 TV 만화 '심슨 가족'(The Simpsons)의 캐릭터 인형 판매도 금지하고 나섰다고 현지 일간지 샤르크가 6일 보도했다.

이는 서방 문화의 영향력 확산을 막으려는 조치의 일환으로 1996년 바비인형을 `트로이의 목마'로 규정하고 판매를 단속한 것과 같은 맥락이라고 AP 통신은 전했다.

실제 지난달에는 이란 당국의 단속으로 이란에서 바비인형을 판매하던 상점 수십 곳이 문을 닫은 것으로 전해졌다.

그러나 슈퍼맨과 스파이더맨 인형의 판매는 여전히 허용된다고 통신은 덧붙였다 .

이란 청소년지적개발기구의 모하메드 호세인 파르주는 "그들(슈퍼맨과 스파이더 맨)은 억압받는 사람들을 도와주는 긍정적인 이미지를 갖고 있다"고 설명했다.

이란은 1979년 이슬람 혁명 이후 서방 문화의 침투를 막고자 책, 영화, 음악, 헤어스타일, 패션 등 여러 종류의 서방 문화를 금지해 왔다.

그러나 젊은 층을 중심으로 서방 문화에 대한 높은 관심을 보이고 있으며 이란 국영 TV조차 일부 서구와 할리우드 영화를 매주 방영하는 것으로 알려졌다.