Iran has banned sports and movie stars from appearing in commercial advertisements on the grounds that celebrities should not promote consumerism, the government newspaper Iran reported on Tuesday.
"The use of any images of cultural, athletic and national figures is banned in commercial advertisements," said Ali Reza Karimi, the head of the information office in the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance.
Advertisement"Cultural and athletic role models... should be promoting chivalry rather than consumerism," he said, adding that the ban also applied to Persian-language satellite channels.
Iranian male movie and sports stars have been appearing on billboards and endorsing products for several years.
A notable target of the ban appears to be the "Iranian Hercules", the heavyweight world weightlifting champion and double Olympic gold medallist Hossein Rezazadeh.
He had raised eyebrows in recent months by appearing in advertisements aired on a satellite channel promoting investment in a real estate business in Dubai.
His gigantic figure is also a familiar sight on billboards in Tehran, endorsing products from banks to mineral water.
Iranian cinema heartthrobs Mohammad Reza Golzar and Bahram Radan as well as television's king of comedy Mehran Modiri have also been featured in advertisements such as for men's clothing and Iranian tea.
Despite a ban in the early years of the 1979 Islamic revolution, Western-style advertisements and television commercials reappeared in Iranian cities and state-owned media in the early 1990s.
Women appear in many promotional advertisements, especially for food and home appliances. Heavily-made up young girls are even appearing in cosmetics commercials in women's magazines.
Actresses have already been banned from appearing in advertisements. Extensive use of their pictures on magazine covers has led to the closure of publications.
Iran had already banned businesses from advertising on Persian-language satellite channels, dozens of which broadcast to Iran from the United States, Europe and the United Arab Emirates.