Iran bans use of the word ‘wine’ and foreign animal names in books

The names of ‘certain foreign presidents’ are also banned to confront ‘Western cultural onslaught’

Iran has banned the use of the word "wine" as well as the names of "foreign animals" and “certain foreign presidents”.

The Islamic Republic’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is imposing the ban to counter a “Western cultural onslaught”.

Mohammad Selgi, head of book publishing at the ministry, said: “When new books are registered with us, our staff first has 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.

“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.”

According to BBC Persia, Mr Selgi also spoke out against books on psychology that cite masturbation as a treatment method.

He said: “We will not give the opportunity to keep the books on the market.”

Mr Selgi also said books that were published several years ago and still on the market will be re-evaluated for content that may be contrary to the law.

Mr Selgi said in an interview with Iranian monthly Shiraze that the “ideological viewpoint” of religious leaders must be “taken into account when we issue a permit for a book to be published”, reports The Telegraph.

According to the latest statement by the ministry, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati told reporters on January 13 that the Iranian government is “pursuing freedom of speech in academic centers”.

He also reportedly said society must be “open to people to speak their mind” and added that more than 8,000 new books had been published in the past year.