Iran’s minister of culture and guidance has severely criticized the previous administration’s censorship of books.

Mehr and ISNA report that Ali Jannati said in a speech on Tuesday October 8: “I have examined many of the books that were banned and see that many of the issues [the authorities] have taken with them are irrelevant.”

During the eight years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s presidency, the censorship of books became widespread.

Recently, 215 writers and translators addressed the issue in a letter to the minister, expressing concern that censorship policies have triggered “an atmosphere of fear and suspicion among writers and publishers.”

Jannati acknowledged the extreme measures taken in the past but added that there has to be some level of censorship because “our new generation is thirsty for literature and we cannot offer them poisoned material.”

He stressed close attention must be paid to novels and children and teen literature.

He stated that “there must be no prejudice; however, things must be addressed openly with an eye on stated regulations.”