Weeks before Valentine’s Day 2011, Iran has banned stores from printing and selling any goods promoting the lovers’ holiday “including posters, boxes and cards emblazoned with hearts or half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day,” according to Iran’s printing works owners’ union. “Outlets that violate this will be legally dealt with,” the union warned.
The move is part of the Iranian regime’s continuous efforts to combat the spread of Western culture and values into its country. Over the last few decades, Valentine’s Day has become popular among Iranians where 70 percent of the population is under the age of 30 and detached from the 1979 Islamic revolution.
Similar to the Valentine’s ban, last summer Tehran unveiled a list of government-approved hairstyles in an attempt to rid the Islamic country of “decadent” western cuts such as the mullet and ponytail. And in 2008, the government created its own modest Barbie doll to combat the American Barbie that Iranian toy seller Masoumeh Rahimi termed “more harmful than an American missile.”
With this history of repressing personal freedoms, there’s probably no love lost between the Iranian people and its government upon this newest fun-squashing rule. Who knew giving a loved one a card with a heart on it could be so dangerous?