Iran bans Kurdish-language instruction book

Iran's intelligence agency, Ettela'at, has banned publication of a Kurdish language instruction book. The book's authors, in Razawe Khorasan province, report that they have faced threats from the province's security forces—along with the publisher, sellers and readers. The book, Nivisin u Xwendina: Kurdiya Kurmanci, which translates as Reading and Writing: Kurdish Kurmanji, was written by four authors—named as Ebas Ismaeli, Mohammed Taqawi, Mehdi Jaafarzada, and Jawad Aliniya—in the Kurdish dialect of Kurmanji using the Latin alphabet. It was approved for publication last year, but authorities apparently moved to suppress it due to use of the Latin alphabet, which provincial officials said is used by “terrorist groups” and not to the benefit of the Islamic Republic.

Article 15 of the Iranian Constitution allows Kurdish and other spoken languages in the country to be used as languages of study, but implementation of the article has been difficult. In the 2013 presidential election campaign, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his government would work to gradually implement the article. Schools were permitted to offer studies in Kurdish for the 2016-2017 school year, but curricula had in most cases not been approved in time to start classes.

Kurdish-language novels have also been subject to censorship in Iran. Partial censorship of Sherzad Hassan's novel The Fence and My Father's Dogs was recently lifted years after its first publication. (Rudaw, June 3)