Report: Iran Police Close Down Toy Shops Selling Barbie Dolls

Police say Barbie dolls are 'symbols of immoral Western culture'; conservatively-dressed Islamic versions of the dolls have failed to dent popularity of Barbies.

Dozens of toy shops selling Barbies in Iran have been closed down by the police, who describe the popular dolls as "symbols of immoral Western culture," Mehr news agency reported Friday.

The move came amid growing tension with the United States and Europe over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

Iranian toy shop April 28, 2008 (AP)

The Iranian establishment has for decades attempted to counter what it calls "Western cultural invasions," including movies, music, hairstyles and outfits.

The war against Barbie dolls first started during the 1990s, when the state-run Institute for Intellectual Development of Children first banned Iranian children from playing with them.

The conservatively-dressed Islamic versions of the dolls, Sara and her brother Dara, have failed to dent the popularity of Barbies.