Iran's prosecutor warns of "negative impact" of Western toys

Iran Materials 27 April 2008 23:53 (UTC +04:00)

Iran's prosecutor general on Sunday warned of the "negative impact" which Western toys could have for Iranian children, ISNA news agency reported. ( dpa )

Qorban-Ali Dori-Najafabadi said the mainly illegally-imported toys such as Barbie, Batman, Harry Potter and Spiderman might cause "irreparable (cultural) damage."

In a letter to Vice President Parviz Davoudi, the ultra-conservative cleric called on the government to find alternatives for what he called the "cultural offensive."

Iranian clergy have warned in the last three decades of a "Western cultural invasion" in the form of movies, music andr fashion, and tried to confront it - so far with little success.

In an effort to counter highly popular Barbie dolls, Iran in 1996 began producing an Islamic version named Sarah and her brother Dara, but these found little resonance among Iranian children.

The Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults at that time even compared Barbie dolls with the "Wooden Horse of Troy, with many cultural invading soldiers inside it".

Despite the counter-measures, Western articles - especially music CDs and DVDs of US movies - have boomed in Iran, especially on the black market where they are available at prices ranging between one and two US dollars.