Iran's culture ministry has reportedly banned the use of the word 'wine' in books as part of a new set of restrictions on writers and publishers.
Iran’s head of book publishing, Mohammad Selgi, has outlined new censorship regulations that will see the word ‘wine’ and also the names of several foreign animals removed from proposed publications, according to a Telegraph news report.
Ministry of Culture staff read all books proposed for publication in order to make sure the content is appropriate, Selgi was quoted as saying.
Last week, the ministry said more than 8,000 books had been published in Iran in the past year and that censorship had been relatively relaxed versus previous regimes.
Consumption of alcohol is banned in Iran’s Islamic Republic.
But, there have been many reports of wine, beer and spirits being smuggled over the country’s borders and there has been some discussion within Iran about the extent of underground drinking.
Local media reported last year that around 150 government centres would be set up across the country to deal with alcohol abuse.
The Ministry of Culture’s stance on references to wine in literature is in contrast to the days before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, when it is estimated there were 300 wineries openly operating in the country.
Winemaking in the area is believed to date back thousands of years. A common legend is that Shiraz originated in what is now modern-day Iran, but Syrah – as the grape variety is also known – is now thought to be the descendant of native French grapes.