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Brazilian author Paulo Coelho Monday denounced in a message posted in his blog that all his books have been banned in Iran.
"Unfortunately I was informed today that the ministry of culture and 'Islamic Guidance' in Iran has banned all of your books, even the unauthorised versions published by other publishers," Coelho's editor in Iran, Arash Hejazi, told the author Sunday in a message that Coelho posted to his own blog - http://paulocoelhoblog.com/.
Hejazi wrote: "My friends have been told that no book that has Paulo Coelho's name on it will be authorised to be published in Iran anymore."
Coelho, who wrote The Alchemist and The Pilgrimage, among other bestsellers, noted that his books have been published in Iran since 1998, and that he has sold more than six million copies in that country, "under different governments".
"An arbitrary decision, after 12 years of publication in the country, can only be a misunderstanding," Coelho said. "I hope this misunderstanding will be solved during this week."Hejazi advised Coelho to make his books "freely available on internet in Persian".
"I just answered Arash, and we will have the books for free download" on the internet, the author said.
In recent years, Brazil has strongly campaigned internationally against the sanctions sought by Western powers against Iran, over Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.
"I strongly count on the Brazilian government to support me, my books, for the sake of all the values we cherish," Coelho said.
Brazil's new Culture Minister Ana de Hollanda, a writer herself, condemned the ban, saying she would work with Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota to coordinate a response.
"From the point of view of culture," de Hollanda said Monday, "I can only say that censorship is always deplorable."