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Tehran International Book Exhibition under heavy surveillance

05/05/10 Source: Radio Zamaneh

Today's opening of the International Book Exhibition in Tehran has raised concern with Iranian authorities that it may be used as a platform to materialize more protests against the government.

Mohsen Parviz, head of Tehran's International Book Exhibition announced: "The perimeter of the Exhibition is controlled by closed-circuit surveillance" because no one should take advantage of the event for political purposes.

ILNA reports that Parviz told a press conference that last year the Book Exhibition took place at the threshold of the elections and no problems were presented.

He stressed that any attempt to make political statements through the event will be "confronted by security officials."

Following the controversial elections of 2009 in Iran, protesters have used various public occasions and events to express their anti-government sentiments.

Mohsen Parviz was also asked about the reduced number of publishers in this year's exhibition to which he responded only "active publishers" who publish at least four books each year were allowed to participate in the exhibition.

He added that a number of publishers where prohibited from participating due to certain violations of the exhibition regulations.

He said: "For instance, last year one of the operators was caught drinking alcoholic beverages at the stall."

The supervisory committee of the Book Exhibition has also announced that books that disregard Shiite religious teachings are also omitted from the exhibition.

The Exhibition which opened today at Tehran Mosala will continue for ten days.

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