Iran gets tough with culture

16 November 2005, Iran

Iran’s new culture minister has said that he is purging his ministry of officials that he thinks have failed to protect Islamic values. In particular, books have come under attack, as the Minister proposes that previous government literary censors lacked the will to refuse offending texts. "Books published in Iran should not attack our religious values," said Mohammad-Hossein Saffar-Harandi. Under his control Saffar-Harandi plans to ban a book on 2500 years of Persian-Iranian monarchy that had been approved under the previous president, Mohammad Khatami. The monarchy was ousted in 1979. Movie censors have also been criticised by the Minister; "These people did not want to accept that this country is the country of the 12th Imam and that the constitution does not approve of things against Islamic law," he said, adding that "officials have been changed… Some maintain that culture should have no limits, but we want cinema and theatre that conforms with our religious beliefs," Saffar-Harandi said. More changes will take place, with hundreds of cultural organisations being put under greater surveillance, as well as newspapers and the media. "We will use our instruments of control... and for the time being we should issue warnings and not arrest people," the minister said of the press. For more information, CLICK HERE.