Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Article 24 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran is assigned to the freedom of the press: “Publications and the press have freedom of expression except when it is detrimental to the fundamental principles of Islam or the rights of the public. The details of this exception will be specified by law”. As the article states, two major boundaries should govern the freedom of expression: no harm to the principles of Islam; and no harm to the rights of the public.
The legal code or system of governing the press such as newspapers and magazines is detailed in the Press Law of 1979 ratified by the Council of the Islamic Revolution, the Press Law of 1986, and the Law on the Amendment of the Press Law of 2000 ratified by the Parliament.
In the field of books, the details of the restrictions of freedom of expression have been defined by the acts issued by the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution. The first regulation in this regard was approved by the council in 1988 and put into force by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. The act was entitled Goals, Policies, and Terms of Book Publishing. It was revised in 2010, nearly 20 years later, and the title is the Resolution of the Goals, Policies, and Terms of Book Publishing.
Prohibited Book Topics
Article 4 of the resolution of 2010 introduces 28 book topics that may cause spreading profligate and disturbance in public rights, and thus are prohibited. The topics can be categorized under three main subtopics and each subtopic includes at least eight sub themes. The regulation requires the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance fight back against these negative aspects of publishing books. As stated in the resolution, the following are some of the forbidden themes that must not appear in the contents of books.
Religion and Morality
1. Propagation of disbelief, denial or distortion of Islamic principles and codes, distortion of the faces of the personalities of Islam who are respected, and distorting historical religious events that will ultimately lead to the denial of religious principles;
2. Insulting the sanctities of Islam and propagating against the teachings of the principles of Islam;
3. Propagating and promoting perverted, obsolete, distorted and heretic religions and sects;
4. Promoting superstition and undermining Islam;
5. Mentioning details of sexual intercourse, sins, vulgar and obscene so that it promotes prostitution;
6. Using sex appeal and pictures of naked women or men as works of art or as any other title;
7. Publishing pictures such as dancing, lushing and vice parties that lead to the proliferation of prostitution;
8. Promoting philosophical and ethical materialism and the lifestyles which are contrary to Islamic values and ethics;
9. Misrepresenting Islam and true Muslims as a religion of violence.
Politics and Society
1. Insulting, character assassinating, or defaming Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader, the president, maraji, and all others whose respect is religiously or legally required;
2. Propaganda against the Constitution and the Islamic Revolution and confrontation with them;
3. Instigating the community to revolt against the Islamic Republic and Islamic Revolution;
4. Promulgating militant groups and counterrevolutionary elements, terrorists, secular systems, royal and Pahlavi monarchy, and purifying their negative faces;
5. Propagating and promulgating dependency to authoritarian powers and opposing the country's independence;
6. Propaganda against national interests and security, and misrepresenting the Islamic Republic as a dysfunctional government;
7. Doing harm and creating doubts in the national unity and the territorial integrity of the country and making chaos, conflict and disputes among different ethnic groups and religions;
8. Undermining and ridiculing national pride, patriotism, scientific and practical capabilities of Iranians, national culture, and Iranian ethnic groups;
9. Spreading and advertising the loss of self-identity against foreign civilization and implanting the sense of backwardness among people;
10. Propaganda of Zionism and other forms of racism;
11. Distorting important historical events of Iran and Islam.
Public Rights and Culture
1. Insulting and ridiculing language, culture and identity of ethnic groups, and ethnic and religious minorities;
2. Promulgating law breaking and debauching;
3. Propagating against family and undermining its value and position;
4. Spreading hopelessness, frustration, absurdity, and negative attitudes in society and increasing public mistrust;
5. Scorning and ridiculing different classes of society;
6. Propagating national and international cultural and artistic corrupted people;
7. Illegal disclosure of classified civil and military documents;
8. Degrading the identity of the national language.
Print and Distribution Permits for Books
Iranian publishers are required to obtain not only publishing licenses to establish a book publishing center, they should also apply for print and distribution permits from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance for each book that they plan to publish. As stated in Article 3 of the Bylaw on Issuing a Book Print Permit (2005), the permits are valid for next reprints as long as no changes are made to the content and the publisher has not changed and/ or has not received any notification from the Ministry that require content modification.
According to Article 2 of the bylaw, in order to obtain a book permit, along with the file of the book, the publisher would fill out an application form called evaluation form and would include the book specifications (such as the title, author, translator, editor, circulation, number of pages, subject ) and submit them to the special office in the Ministry.
Books banned in Iran
In Iran banned books are the books that are prohibited by the government (Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance) to be printed and distributed. Some books are rejected to receive print and distribution permits and some books receive notifications stating the deletions and alterations which are necessary to be applied to the content in order to receive the permits. In some cases, after distribution of the book, the permits are revoked for next editions. There are also cases in which a book does not receive permits in one period but the same book is permitted by the Ministry of Guidance in another period.
The following titles are some of the books that have either not received permits or whose permits have been revoked after some time. Some of the titles may have received permits later.
|Title||Author||Type of literature||References and notes|
|ketāb-e sādeq-e hedāyat (The Book of Sadegh Hedayat)||Mahmoud Katiraie|||
|āyāt-e sheytāni (The Satanic Verses)||Salman Rushdie||novel|||
|khodāyān doshanbehā mikhandand (The Gods Laugh on Mondays)||Reza Khoshnazar||novel|||
|antari ke lutiyash morde bud (The Monkey Whose Owner Had Died)||Sadeq Chubak||short stories|||
|sang-e sabur (The Patient Stone)||Sadeq Chubak||short stories|||
|azādārān-e bayal (The Mourners of Bayal)||Gholam-Hossein Saedi||short stories|||
|dandil (Dandyl)||Gholam-Hossein Saedi||short stories|||
|tars o larz (Fear and Trembling)||Gholam-Hossein Saedi||short stories|||
|tup (The Ball)||Gholam-Hossein Saedi||short stories|||
|Censoring an Iranian Love Story||Shahriar Mandanipour||novel|||
|chashmhāyash (Her Eyes)||Bozorg Alavi||novel|||
|sangi bar guri (A Tombstone on a Grave)||Jalal Al-e-Ahmad||novel|||
|rowze-ye qāsem (Mourning for Qasem)||Amir Hossein Cheheltan||novel|||
|mardi ke dar qobār gom shod (The Man Lost in Dust)||Nosrat Rahmani||poetry|||
|majmue ash'ār-e ahmad-e shāmlu (A Collection of Poems of Ahmad Shamlu)||Ahmad Shamlu||poetry|||
|dokhtari bā rismān-e noqrei (A Girl with a Silver String)||Jamal Mirsadeqi||short story|||
|khāterāt-e delbarakān-e qamgin-e man (Memories of My Melancholy Whores)||Gabriel García Márquez||novella||translated into Persian by Kaveh Mirabasi|
|aqrab ru-ye pellehāye rāhāhan-e andimeshk (Scorpion on the Railroad Stairways of Andimeshk, or Blood's Dripping From This Train)||Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar||novel|||
|ādābe biqarāri (The Ceremonies of Impatience)||Yaghub Yadali||short stories|||
|tārikhe-e ejtemāiye irān (Social History of Iran)||Morteza Ravandi|||
|ramz-e dāvinchi (The Da Vinci Code)||Dan Brown||novel||Translated by Hossin Shahrabi|
|buf-e kur (The Blind Owl)||Sadeq Hedayat||novel|||
|shāhed bāzi dar adabiyāt-e fārsi (Gay Relations in Persian Literature)||Sirus Shamisa||literary essay|||
|zanān-e parde neshin va nokhbegān-e jowshan push (The Veiled Women and the Armoured Elite)||Fatemeh Marnisi||history|||
|zahir (The Zahir) )||Paulo Coelho||novel||Translated by Arash Hejazi|
|sāl-e sefr (The Year Zero)||Ardalan Sarafraz||novel|||
|dāde bidād (The Shout of No Shout")||Vida Hajebi|||
|Lessons to Avoid AIDS|||
|faqr va fahshā (Poverty and Adultery)||Masood Dehnamaki|||
|afyun (Opium)||Shiva Arastooi||short stories|||
|jen nāme (The Book of Genies)||Houshang Golshiri||novel,|||
|az shytān āmukht va suzānd (He Learned from Satan and Burnt It)||Farkhondeh Aghaii||novel|||
|zanān bedun-e mardān (Women without Men)||Shahrnoosh Parsipour||novel|||
|ākharin vasvasehā-ye masih (The Last Temptation of Christ)||Nikos Kazantzakis|||
|khorus (Cockcrow)||Ebrahim Golestan||short stories|||
|The Social Contract or Principles of Political Rights||Jean-Jacques Rousseau|||
|be su-ye sarnevesht (Towards Destiny)||Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani|||
|tubā va ma'nā-ye shab (Touba and the Meaning of Night)||Shahrnush Parsipur||novel|||
|shab-e howl (Night of Fear)||Hormoz Shahdadi||novel|||
- "Iran's Constitution of 1979 with Amendments through 1989" (PDF). Constitute Project. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
- "Iran's Press Law" (PDF). WIPO. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
- "مصوبه اهداف، سیاست ها و ضوابط نشر کتاب" (PDF). Retrieved 2 March 2021.
- Rahmani, Ashraf (2017). The Legal System Concerning Book Publishing in Iran: A Descriptive and Analytical Study. Canada: Golden Maple Publications. pp. 157–158. ISBN 978-0995994423.
- Rahmani, Ashraf (2017). The Legal System Concerning Book Publishing in Iran: A Descriptive and Analytical Study. Golden Maple Publication. ISBN 978-0995994423.
- حذفیات کتاب صادق هدایت
- آیات شیطانی (کتاب)
- رمان های فراموش ناشده، و خدایان دوشنبه ها می خندند
- "سانسور کتاب- کارنامه یک وزیر ایرانی". Archived from the original on 14 June 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- Kakutani, Michiko (29 June 2009). "Censoring An American Love Story". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
- "شاملو هم توقيف شد". Bookfiesta literary magazine. Archived from the original on 24 February 2007.
- کتاب توقیف شده مارکز جمع آوری می شود
- "روزنامه کارگزاران: هیچكس پاسخگو نیست". Archived from the original on 1 June 2008. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- خبر بیبیسی در مورد ممنوعیت انتشار کتاب
- "خبر ممنوعیت انتشار بوف کور". Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- شاهدبازی در ادبیات فارسی
- خبر بیبیسی: جمع آوری 'زنان پرده نشین و نخبگان جوشن پوش
- "گزارش جمع آوری کتاب در نمایشگاه هجدهم کتاب". Archived from the original on 4 August 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- "گزارش جمع آوری کتاب آموزشهای پیشگیری از ایدز". Archived from the original on 10 August 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- گزارش جمع آوری کتاب فقر و فحشا
- رمان ”افیون” نوشته شیوا ارسطویی از وزارت فرهنگ ارشاد اسلامی مجوز چاپ نگرفت
- رمان ”جن نامه” نوشته هوشنگ گلشیری از وزارت فرهنگ ارشاد اسلامی مجوز چاپ نگرفت
- انتشار کتاب فرخنده آقایی ممنوع شد Archived 30 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- گفتگو با شهرنوش پارسی پور
- مروری بر آثار کازانتزاکیس Archived 23 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- مجوز نشر "خروس" ابراهیم گلستان لغو شد
- "پیدا کردن کتاب ممنوع آسان است". Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- "کتاب خاطرات هاشمی رفسنجانی توقیف شد". Archived from the original on 26 July 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- "Touba And The Meaning of Night". Publisher's Weekly. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
- 'رمان های فراموش ناشده؛ شب هول: 'من که قهرمان نیستم