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Last Updated: Friday, 19 September, 2003, 15:21 GMT 16:21 UK
Iran blacks out Beckham billboards
Photographs of the footballer David Beckham have been blacked out on billboards in the Iranian capital, Tehran, in what appears to be a backlash against Western cultural influence.

David Beckham in action for Real Madrid
Reports said the commercials were "too suggestive"
Five billboards in the city carrying a head and shoulders shot of the Real Madrid and England star advertising engine oil have been draped in black cloth.

Correspondents say David Beckham is the first Western celebrity to be used in an advertising campaign in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

It is not clear who ordered the billboards to be covered.

A spokesman for Tehran city council told the BBC it was not the council's decision.

Reuters quoted a source familiar with the advertising campaign as saying the commercials were deemed "too suggestive".

Men are banned from wearing shorts in public in Iran, although football matches are screened on television.


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