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Iran bans celebrities from appearing in ads
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Iran has prohibited Iranian artists, sports personalities and cultural figures from appearing in advertisements, local English-language daily Tehran Times reported on Tuesday.

The decision was announced in a circular issued by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance's Advertisement and Information Dissemination Office on Monday.

"They should promote the spirit of gallantry and not the culture of consumerism," the office's director Alireza Karimi was quoted as saying.

The ruling also applies to commercials aired from banned Persian satellite channels, Karimi noted.

The decision was made following the appearance of Iranian athlete Hossein Rezazadeh, the four-time world and two-time Olympic+105kg weight-lifting gold medalist, in a commercial for a Dubai-based real estate agency, which was being broadcast on a banned Persian satellite channel.

Many Iranians believe his appearance in the commercial was beneath his dignity, Tehran Times said.

Veteran Iranian actor Jamshid Mashayekhi had also been criticized for his appearance in an advertisement for air conditioners.

Iranian football coach and former player Nasser Hejazi, and actors Mahmud Basiri, Bahram Radan, and Mohammadreza Golzar are among the Iranian celebrities who have appeared in ads over the past few years.

Iranians are bombarded with numerous ads on billboards across the country or aired by state-run television. Despite this, consumerism is officially denounced.

(Xinhua News Agency July 8,2008)

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