The heat is on after an Iranian government-affiliated agency added dolls of Simpsons characters to its blacklist of toys.
“This means war!” exclaimed longtime Simpsons executive producer Al Jean when asked to comment on the development.
Independent Iranian newspaper Shargh reported Monday that Homer and family were banned “because these dolls are promoters of Western culture.”
“We do not want to promote this cartoon by importing the toys,” the daily quoted Mohammad Hossein Farjoo, secretary of policy-making at the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, as saying.
Farjoo would not say specifically what was wrong with the Simpsons. However, he pointed out, dolls of adults are banned in general, as are dolls on which genitals are distinguishable.
In addition, toys with speakers that emit the voices of Western singers are proscribed as are toy kitchen sets that include glasses for drinking alcoholic beverages.
However, dolls of Superman and Spider-Man and Superman are permitted for sale. “Though they are dolls and characters in American films, they help oppressed people and they have a positive stance,” he said.
The same agency called Barbie dolls a “Trojan horse” in 1996. Police said in January that they closed down dozens of toy shops for selling Barbies.
Iran imported $57 million worth of toys last year. Officials that that about $20 million more worth of toys were smuggled across the border that same year.
One-quarter of Iran’s population of 75 million is under 15 years of age.