Brazilian author Coelho says Iran bans his books

Brazilian author Paulo Coelho arrives for the screening of the film "Antichrist" by director Lars Von Trier in competition at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival, May 18, 2009. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Prominent Brazilian author Paulo Coelho said on Monday that the sale of his books had been banned in Iran and he appealed to his country’s government to intervene.

Coelho, one of the world’s best-selling writers, published on his blog ( a message from his editor in Iran informing him of the Iranian government’s decision to ban his books.

“I strongly hope this misunderstanding will be solved during the week. And I strongly count on the Brazilian government to support me, my books, for the sake of all the values we cherish,” Coelho wrote on the blog.

His editor in Iran, Arash Hejazi, was shown in video footage during anti-government protests in June 2009 trying to save the life of Neda Agha-Soltan, whose death became a symbol of the violence that followed Iran’s disputed elections.

Coelho said he did not know the reason for Iran’s decision to ban his books, but noted that he had used social networks online to support Hejazi during the violence.

Coelho, whose 1988 allegorical novel “The Alchemist” became one of the best-selling books in history, said he would make all of his books translated into the Persian language, or Farsi as it is known in Iran, available for free on the Internet.

The author, whose sales total at least 300 million in 150 countries, said his work had been selling in Iran since 1998.

Reporting by Stuart Grudgings and Pedro Fonseca; Editing by Paul Simao