Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, who wrote the worldwide bestseller "The Alchemist," accused Iran Monday of banning his books.
"My books have been published in Iran since 1998, in different publishing houses," Coelho wrote on his website http://paulocoelhoblog.com, noting estimates that over six million copies of his books have sold in the country.
Calling it an "an arbitrary decision," Coelho said the move could "only be a misunderstanding."
He wrote of the apparent censorship after his Iranian publisher Arash Hejazi — active in the Iranian opposition — told him the books were banned by order of the Ministry of Culture, without providing an explanation.
The author, whose best-known work "The Alchemist" has sold some 65 million copies worldwide, ended his blog post by publishing Hejazi’s letter informing him of the ban, and writing in block capitals: "WE WILL HAVE THE BOOKS FOR FREE DOWNLOAD IN INTERNET."
Brazilian Minister of Culture Ana de Hollanda said meanwhile Monday that censorship is "always deplorable," in a statement published by the official outlet Brazil Agency. She also said she would discuss the matter with Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota.