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Iran's Culture Ministry Bans Best-Selling Movie

Iran - A poster of Iranian film Rahman 1400, banned by Culture Ministry, which accused producers of showing uncensored version. April 2019

Iran's Culture Ministry says it has banned Iran's best-selling movie of the month, Rahman 1400.

According to the ministry, the movie was screened at 140 movie theaters during the Iranian New Year holidays in late March and gained 220 billion rials at the box office until mid-April. The amount equals $1.6 million based on free market exchange rate or $4.5 million based on official rate.

The Culture Ministry claimed that the version screened in some cinemas was different from the copy Iranian censorship had licensed for public screenings. According to the ministry some of the scenes cut out by the government were later added to the screening copy by the film's producers.

The ministry made the same claim about other movies previously, but producers denied making any changes in the approved copy.

The Culture Ministry has been under pressure by hardliner institutions to introduce more strict censorship on films and on several occasions conservatives pulled movies licensed by the ministry off the screens.

On the other hand, media reports say some viewers had complained that Rahman 1400 included scenes with explicit sexually loaded dialogues that embarrassed them in front of their children.