Iranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini has announced plans to create a new five-person board that will approve the content of all books prior to publication, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.
Hosseini said on September 20 that the new board would be similar to Iran's Press Supervisory Board, and its members would decide which books can be published.
The five board members will be appointed by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution.
Faraj Sarkouhi, a prominent writer and journalist living in exile, told RFE/RL on September 21 that "it appears that the five members of the new board are going to be in charge of supervising book censorship."
He added that censorship by the Culture Ministry, without whose approval nothing is published in Iran, had no legal basis. "Even according to the laws of the Islamic republic, censorship is illegal," he said.
The Office to Examine Books, which is subordinate to the Culture Ministry, was responsible for censoring books, Sarkouhi said, but "with the establishment of the five-member board, another institution, too, will be in charge of censorship in Iran."
Since Mahmud Ahmadinejad was first elected president in 2005, censorship has intensified, targeting a wide range of literature, including Persian classical literature as well as works by contemporary Iranian writers and classics of world literature.