No, it's not a militaristic Barbie outfitted with hi-tech surveillance equipment or tactical nukes. It's just the plain old anatomically incorrect blond doll. From the NY Times we learn:
Iran’s prosecutor general railed on Sunday against the invasion of Barbie, Batman, Spider-Man and Harry Potter and demanded that the country’s young be protected against them.... Urging measures to safeguard “Islamic culture and revolutionary values,” the prosecutor, Ghorban-Ali Dorri Najafabadi, was quoted ... as saying: “Promoting figures like Barbie, Batman, Spider-Man and Harry Potter ... should alarm all the country’s officials. We need to find substitutes to ward off this onslaught, which aims at children and young people whose personality is in the process of being formed.”"Sara and Dara", the Islamic version of Barbie and Ken, don't enjoy the same popularity? Really? I wonder if the packaging has the two dolls separated by a thick wall, with strict instructions that the dolls should never be in the same room together? Does the deluxe version come with miniature members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice?
Although officials in Iran regularly denounce Western culture, Western toys have been popular there, and affluent parents often indulge their children with them. The prosecutor said, “These toys, which do not respect the required norms, present dangers for the health of children and affect the survival of toy factories in this country.” ... Two years ago the police raided toy shops and put black stickers on the packaging of Barbie dolls to hide their bodies. Barbie contravenes Iran’s rule that women must cover all bodily contours. Iran’s rivals to Barbie and her partner, Ken, are Sara and Dara, who respect Islamic rules but do not enjoy Barbie’s popularity. [bold added]
The fact that the culture police in Iran are this concerned about the corrupting influence of Western toys like the absurdly unimportant Barbie doll, just exposes the decrepit nature of the Iranian/Islamic system. Much like the Soviet dictators were concerned about the westernizing influence of Levi's (and a correspondingly huge black market sprung up, funneling tons of blue jeans under the Iron Curtain) the Iranian leaders are railing against an external threat to try and cover up the rotten foundations of their ideology.
If in this case, a Barbie gives a young Iranian girl some hope that she will one day experience the freedom that her counterpart in Indiana has, or that one day she may be able to wear a summer dress or drive a pink car while talking to a boy without fear of public stoning, then Iran's prosecutor general is right to be worried.