By Roger Tagholm
Speaking at the Frankfurt Book Fair last week, representatives of Tehran Publishers and Booksellers Association (TPBA) expressed hope that barriers to trade between Iranian publishers and publishers in the West will now ease with the election of president Hassan Rouhani, whose moderate, more open stance has been much commented on.
One of the key areas of difficult is the banking arrangements between Iran and the West which mean that, as a result of sanctions and diplomatic isolation, if a publisher does want to trade with the West, payment has to go through a third party agency, based in a non-EU country such as the United Arab Emirates.
“It’s a real barrier,” said Hamed Mirzababaei of the TPBA. “If we can sort this out, it will pave the way for more interaction between Iranian and western publishers. There are many books that could be of interest to the West. We have produced our first ever Persian language translation catalogue.”
Mirzababaei said that overall subsidies for the Iranian publishing industry had declined, but added that the government was subsidizing attendance at foreign book fairs—though not BookExpo America because of visa problems on the American end).
A further problem is copyright. “Iran is not a signatory to the Berne Convention,” said Mirzababaei, “and that is an obstacle to cooperation between Iranian and international publishers.”
Hopefully, that will now change too under the new regime in the country.
DOWNLOAD: TPBA’s Persian translation catalog.