Tintin and censorship in Iran

There aren't too many countires that Tintin hasn't been published in, and Iran is not one of them.

Before the Iranian revolution in '78, Tintin was published in Persian by Universal, authorized publisher of Tintin books in Iran. They were hardcover books, with excellent print quality and outstanding translation.

After the revolution, however, printing of Tintin books - like so many other things - were stopped. The only way people like myself could read Tintin was to find one of the old Universal editions (usually borrow it from a friend) and read them. They were a commodity, really, since not many of them were around any more, and those that were, were mainly torn and ripped after so many years of usage.

It wasn't until a few years ago, nearly a quarter century after the revolution, that Tintin found its way back into Iran. This time, however, the publishers are unauthorized, and since there is no copyright in Iran no one can stop them.

This means they have "censored" a lot of stuff out of the Tintin stories. They have "islamified" Tintin, and had they failed to do so they probably would never have gotten permission to publish the books.

A lot of people, certainly those like me who have read the original editions, hate these new ones though. Imagine Captain Haddock drinking "lemonade" all the time instead of whiskey, or imagine Castafiore wearing stockings and long-sleeves, and then you will know why we hate them.

Here's an example of this ridiculous censorship. It's from "Tintin and the Picaros". As you can see, in the (unauthorized) Persian version, they have actually removed Captain Haddock altogether (embracing anyone except family or your husband is supposedly forbidden in Islam) !!!!



© Hergé/Moulinsart 2004
Image courtesy of Alireza

That's why the original Universal editions are even more valuable now, and they are almost impossible to find. I will write more on this issue and have more examples of this absurd censorship later.

July 6, 2004 02:55 AM | « Previous | Main | Next »


hi great website,
be sure to keep it updated regularly. I asm also a tintinophile from Trivandrum, India
P.S. You can also check out www.unknowntintin.co.tk - a website by richard wainman- where he has uploaded ALPH ART THE english version.
why dont you also upload rare tintins like farsian edn of alph art or BLUE ORANGES, GOLDEN FLEECE Etc.- it will make interesting reading, and also please do join

Posted by: Narayan Radhakrishnan at July 6, 2004 09:29 AM

But why bother to "give permission" to a censored Tintin? Isn't the depiction of humans in-and-of-itself against Islam? Why didn't they just ban it outright?

-love yr site!

Posted by: Bootsy at July 8, 2004 03:00 PM

Bootsy, to my knowledge depiction of humans is not against Islam by itself. There are numerous other comic books or childrens books made locally in Iran and it is not against the law or anything.

They only have problems with specific violations of the islamic code, like drinking and/or mingling of sexes.

Even so, the rules have been relaxed recently and I don't even think all the books actually need to get permission to get published, so I'm not sure how much of this censorship is self-imposed by the publishers, out of conservatism, and how much is actually demanded of them by the culture ministry.

Posted by: Site Admin at July 8, 2004 08:47 PM

This sounds like a job for the most excellent BitTorrent system. Given that the producers of Tintin are already being ripped off by these bowdlerized imitations, perhaps sending in the Real Stuff(tm) might be enough to sink the imitators.

Posted by: PhantomAnalyst at July 9, 2004 02:02 AM
The work of Hergé is protected by author’s right. No use of it can be done without prior and written authorisation of Moulinsart