Small, plastic figures portraying characters from the long-running Fox sitcom "The Simpsons" are officially verboten in the nation of Iran, after a religious censor this week deemed them to be tools of Western propaganda.

"We do not want to promote this cartoon by importing the toys," an official with Iran's Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults said this week, according to The Associated Press.

Dolls depicting adults are banned in Iran. So are Barbie dolls. Superheroes like Superman and Spiderman, however, are allowed because "they help oppressed people," the Iranian official reportedly explained.

Iran has battled Western cultural influence since hardline Islamists overthrew a regime controlled by the U.S. in 1979. The prior regime had been in power since 1953, after a U.S.-sponsored coup installed a leader friendly to Western economic interests.

The nation's theocratic rulers have since banned things like men wearing long hair, low necklines on women's shirts, tattoos, YouTube and Gmail, neckties, numerous films and television shows, rap music, alcohol and the celebration of most Western holidays.

Photo: Flickr user Cindy Funk.