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Iranian Ministry Bans Books From International Fair

A scene from the 2010 Tehran International Book Fair
A scene from the 2010 Tehran International Book Fair
Many books previously approved by Iran's Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry have been banned from the upcoming international book fair in Tehran, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Majid Hamidzadeh, the director of the committee that supervises and evaluates books that are to be exhibited at the fair, said a significant number of the volumes that were removed from this year's fair were directed against Iran's "territorial integrity" and "national security," Fars News Agency reported.

Hamidzadeh said some of the books removed had been published before 2006.

Germany-based journalist and writer Faraj Sarkouhi told Radio Farda it is not clear why books which were deemed detrimental to national security were approved by the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry in the first place.

Sarkouhi said books on a wide range of topics have been banned with no obvious rationale. They include "An Introduction to Heidegger's Existential Philosophy"; "The Nik-Akhtar Family," a novel by distinguished Iranian satirist Iraj Pezeshkzad; the third volume of "The Cambridge History of Iran"; and a book about yoga.

Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry official Bahman Dori said the motto of this year's fair is "promoting religious wisdom and cultural insight."

Tehran's International Book Fair is held annually in May and is considered an important cultural event in the country.