THE Iranian government has declared a virtual "jihad" on Rachael Ray!
In a half-baked new edict, ayatollahs in the hard-line Muslim country have banned Rachael
and all other cooking shows that promote non-Iranian cuisine, The ENQUIRER has learned.

The order was reportedly handed down by the country’s supreme religious leader, 71-year-old Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who apparently thinks Rachael’s lasagna recipe is a threat to Islamic culture. Kitchen magicians Paula Deen, Jamie Oliver and other American and European chefs also
cannot appear on the nation’s staterun TV.

"From now on, teaching how to cook non-Iranian dishes is banned," said Ali Darabi, the deputy head of Iranian TV.

Darabi announced the ban during a visit to one of Iran’s 30 state-run TV channels.

Cooking shows on state-run TV will now be limited to the preparation of Persian food only.

The order is part of an effort by religious conservatives in Iran to erase all Western influences. Iran is currently in a heated dispute with the U.S. over its plans to produce nuclear

Syndicated media critic and Huffington Post contributor Bill Mann told The ENQUIRER that the bizarre new rule shows "Americans have won the hearts and stomachs of the Iranian
people with our cheeseburgers, corn dogs and nacho platters!"

Iranian cuisine utilizes small amounts of red meat and emphasizes ingredients such as rice, fruits and vegetables. Classic Iranian dishes include kebabs, stuffed vine leaves, split pea and lamb stew and rice pudding.

Despite the ban, it’s likely that Rachael, Giada De Laurentiis and other popular Western chefs will still find their way onto some Iranian TV sets.

Even though private broadcasters and satellite TV are forbidden in Iran, Iranian rooftops are dotted with satellite dishes that can pick up outlawed programming.

What’s more, pizza, pasta and Western fast-food favorites like hamburgers and hot dogs have long been popular in Iran.

Tehran, the nation’s capital and largest city, boasts many restaurants that serve Western or Asian food. It is unclear whether the non-Persian eateries will be allowed to stay open.

Added Mann: "What that silly ayatollah needs is a batch of Rachael’s fudge brownies. They are so good, he’d immediately lift the ban on her show!"