TEHRAN, Iran — Cupid beware: Iran says it's cracking down on the symbols of Valentine's Day.
The annual homage to romance on Feb. 14 has become popular in recent years in Iran and other places in the Middle East.
But Iran's semiofficial ILNA news agency reports Sunday that a state directive now bans any cards, gifts, teddy bears or other tokens of the day – which tradition says is named after an early Christian martyr.
The backlash in the Islamic Republic is part of a drive against the spread of Western culture.
Other Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia also have sought to stamp out Valentine's Day. But it's celebrated widely in nearby places such as Dubai.