Although an official ban on the sale of Barbie Dolls has been in place in Iran since 1996, the Iranian Morality Police implemented a major crackdown, a so-called "Barbie Prohibition", in 2012. This decision was made by the country's religious leaders in order to prevent the destructive impact on Iranian culture and children by Western cultural influences.
However, just like in the US when the government tried to ban the sale of alcohol during prohibition, the Iranian government found it impossible to completely stop the sales of Barbie. A black-market trade sprang up with Barbie Dolls being smuggled into the country and then sold under the counter by local shopkeepers.
In 2002 the Iranian government tried to combat the problem by introducing their own alternative Barbie and Ken called "Sara and Dara" which were dressed in traditional Iranian Islamic clothes. However, shopkeepers found these new dolls hard to sell with the Iranian children still preferring the Western-looking Barbie.