Five advertising hoardings that carried a head and shoulders photograph of the Real Madrid and England football star marketing engine oil have been draped in black cloth.

Television commercials featuring Beckham's legs have been pulled off the air.
   
“It happened two days ago in the middle of the night,” an unidentified source familiar with the advertising campaign said on Friday.

“They came and put black cloth over all the boards; first over Beckham's face and then over the whole thing,” he added.

Controversial
   
Beckham was the first Western celebrity to be used in an advertising campaign since the 1979 Islamic revolution, after Iran's reform-minded government granted relevant permission.

But the conservative Tehran City Council objected after three weeks of Beckham's face looking down from various high points on the capital's traffic-clogged streets.

Arguably the best known figure in the world's most popular sport, David Beckham enjoys an iconic status among young sports-minded Iranians.

An Iranian survey once found the England captain was, for the country's youth, the second most recognisable person in the world after their own president.