Iran shops banned from selling Valentine gifts

Last Updated: Sunday, January 2, 2011 - 18:26

Tehran: Shops in Iran have been banned
from selling Valentine cards and gifts as the traditional
lovers` day gains increasing popularity in the Islamic
republic.

"In the run-up to Valentine`s Day on February 14 the
printing works owners` union issued a directive banning the
printing and distribution of any goods promoting this day,"
ILNA news agency reported today.

"Printing and producing any goods related to this day
including posters, boxes and cards emblazoned with hearts or
half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day
are banned," the union said in the directive.

"Outlets that violate this will be legally dealt
with," it warned.

Over the past three decades Iran`s conservative
Islamic regime has sought to prevent the spread of Western
culture among its overwhelmingly young population.

But Valentine`s Day has become very popular in Iran
over the past decade, with young men and women exchanging
chocolate, flowers, perfume, teddy bears and other gifts on
February 14.

Every year gift shops in large cities are festooned out
with Valentine`s Day paraphernalia and restaurants in Tehran
are packed with young men and women out on a date.

However, the trend has been harshly criticised by
conservatives who see no room in Islamic culture for such
celebrations.

Some nationalist Iranians have also suggested
replacing Valentine`s Day with Mehregan -- a pre-Islamic but
obsolete festival in early October -- marking the autumn
equinox and honouring the ancient Persian angel of love,
Mithra.

PTI




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