The decision to censor books published in Iran is to ensure that Iranians are protected from a Western "cultural onslaught"
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, has urged the culture ministry to 'focus on producing appealing books'Photo: AFP
By Ahmed Vahdat
7:39PM GMT 19 Jan 2016
Iran’s culture ministry has decided to censor the use of the word “wine” and the names of “foreign animals” and dignitaries from any books published in the Islamic Republic.
The new rules are designed to protect Iranians from what the regime calls a “cultural onslaught” by the West.
Mohammad Selgi, the head of book publishing at the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance, said: “When new books are registered with us, our staff first have to read them page by page to make sure whether they require any editorial changes in line with promoting the principles of the Islamic revolution, effectively confronting the Western cultural onslaught and censoring any insult against the prophets.”
Mr Selgi added: “Words like wine and the names of foreign animals and pets, as well as names of certain foreign presidents are also banned under the new restricting regulations.”
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, has urged the culture ministry to “focus on producing appealing books and films, designing video games, and developing attractive and meaningful toys” to counter a “Western cultural invasion of Iran that seeks to destroy Islamic identity”.
Mr Selgi told Shiraze, an Iranian monthly, that the “ideological viewpoint” of “clerics” must be “taken into account when we issue a permit for a book to be published”.
Once an ancient and major producer of wine in the Middle East, alcohol has been banned in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979. But consumption is still widespread. One Iranian MP alleged that alcoholic drinks were smuggled into country in tankers.
“There is absolutely no control over the contents of the tanker trucks that supposedly import oil from Iraq into our country that are in fact loaded with wine and beer," said Abuldreza Messri, the MP for Iran’s border city of Kermanshah, according to Bahar news.