Security forces from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance confiscated two books from the Tehran Book Fair on May 9, one of which was translated and introduced by controversial political activists who served jail time.
The books, Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoğlu and James A Robinson and Me and Shirin and Mustafa by Shiva Arastoui, were removed three days into the exhibition. Why Nations Fail was translated by Mohsen Mirdamadi and Mohammad Hossein Naimipour, and includes a preface written by Alireza Beheshti Shirazi, all of whom publicly backed reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi during the 2008 presidential election. They were arrested and imprisoned following the election and the unrest that followed. Both books were published by Rozaneh Publishing House.
Mehr News Agency confirmed that Rozaneh delivered the books to the exhibition. But soon after, security police met with executives from Shabestan, a cultural agency that helped organize the event, and issued a protocol to exclude them from the fair.
The Art and Culture Channel reported that the seizure went ahead despite the fact that Rozaneh obtained approval from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. “No reason was given so far for withdrawing the books from the exhibition,” a Rozaneh representative, who asked not to be named, told reporters. The source went on to say that they were “expecting a letter from the judiciary explaining the reason behind its decision”.
Why Nations Fail presents a new political economic theory, addressing the question of why some nations are poor and others are rich, and looking at the ways in which prosperity, poverty, health, disease, food, and recreation sets countries apart. Ajamoqlu draws on 15 years’ of research, including research into the Roman Empire, Mayan city-states and the Middle Ages, as well as an assessment of the Soviet Union and several African countries. Daron Acemoğlu currently works at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and James A Robinson is a Harvard academic.
The publishers also obtained permission to include Me and Shirin and Mustafa, a novel, at the Tehran Book Fair. The book is based on Shiva Arastoui’s life in 1970s and 1980s Iran. The author has previously published a number of books, including books of poems, short stories and novels. They include The Sky is not Empty, Sunshine Moonlight, I Came to Have Tea with my Daughter, I Became Beautiful when I Saw him, I am not a Girl, and Fear.
Read the original article in Persian