Original Photo: Payam Borazjani

Iran has banned “the production of Valentine’s Day gifts and any promotion of the day celebrating romantic love to combat what it sees as a spread of Western culture,” AP reported this week.Iranian authorities included gifts such as cards, boxes with the symbols of hearts, and red roses as part of the things that should avoided.

Considering the day is in celebration of a Christian saint, we’re not completely surprised that the hardliners feel the need to have this mostly commercially-charged “holiday” removed from social recognition in Iran. After all, Iran’s strict Islamic laws forbid single men and women to socialize as is, especially…romantically.

“Honoring foreign celebrations is the spread of Western culture,” said the printing works owners’ union head, Ali Nikou Sokhan. “Our country has an ancient civilization and various days to honor kindness, love and affection.”

You may have heard by now about the suggestion by many Iranians to celebrate Mehregan in lieu of Valentine’s Day. (But we say: Why not just celebrate Mehregan for itself?)

A notice sent out about the ban by the union read: “Printing and producing any products related to Valentine’s Day, including posters, brochures, advertising cards, boxes with the symbols of hearts, half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day are banned. Authorities will take legal action against those who ignore the ban.”

Would letting Iranians who wish to celebrate this heart-filled day (and spend a little money for their honey–which is ultimately good for the economy, even if for a day/week) be so bad?

Iran does have many important holidays of its own–which ironically aren’t easy to enjoy fully in Iran considering all the restrictions–but, also, Iran has historically been a place of tolerance and coexistence amongst all types, so why not accept the effects of globalization…?

What do you think?