Dolls of the cartoon characters have been outlawed in the Middle Eastern country

Dolls of characters in The Simpsons have been banned in Iran.

Iranian Secretary of the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults, Mohammad Hossein Farjoo said “We don’t want to promote this cartoon by importing the toys.”

According to The Daily Mail, no further reason was given as to why The Simpsons in particular was singled out.

Farjoo, however, did explain that while dolls with distinguishable genitals and dolls of adults are also banned in the Middle Eastern country, dolls of superhero characters Superman and Spiderman are permitted as they help the “oppressed”.

Barbie dolls were banned in Iran in the 1990s, although continued to be widely available in the country – but a recent clampdown has seen shops in the capital Tehran closed for having them in stock.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to make a guest appearance in The Simpsons‘ 500th episode. The notorious whistleblower recorded his lines in a secret location and did not meet with producers because of his house arrest legal status in the US.

The episode, due to air in the US on February 19, sees Homer and Marge attempt to go “off the grid” after discovering that the Springfield citizens want to have them removed from the town and are holding secret town hall meetings without them. While on the run, they will bump into Assange, who is billed as their “new Ned Flanders”.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Simpsons executive producer Al Jean admitted that there had been “discussion internally” over whether to use Assange and said his cameo was “satirical” and does not have the potential to alter his legal situation.