Bill Clinton's memoir

I think not
Bill Clinton's memoir joins 'Harry Potter' as a bestseller in Iranian bookshops

By Agence France Presse (AFP)

Friday, July 01, 2005

TEHRAN: Iranians may shout "Death to America" and burn the Stars and Stripes in demonstrations, but the memoir of former U.S. President Bill Clinton is on its way to becoming a runaway bestseller in the country.

According to publisher Farhang Fattemi, who has just released the book, "many Iranians like the United States and want to hear history straight from the horse's mouth."

First published in the U.S. last summer, "My Life" has hit the shelves in Iran in a prestigious two-volume hardback costing a hefty 150,000 rials ($16.50). It is already said to be selling very well.

"We have had numerous orders and will soon be running out of the first edition," says Fattemi, who also published former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's memoir "Living History" as well as "George and Laura: Portrait of an American Marriage" about the current U.S. president.

Comparing "My Life" with "Harry Potter," also a bestseller in Iran, Fattemi says several other publishers had rushed to get their hands on the book and there were many "sloppy and abridged translations to be found as well."

"They were enticed by Hillary's book, which reached a fourth print in eight months," he says, explaining he had sold some 12,000 copies, which is a huge amount in Iran, where 3,000 a year is considered a major success.

Fattemi, however, had a hard time publishing a book by an American ex-president, whose administration imposed heavy sanctions on a country that has since been lumped into an "axis of evil" by U.S. President George W. Bush.

"Instead of the normal one month, it took the authorities nine months to screen the book," he explains, adding he had finally been asked to insert "Persian Gulf" instead of "the Gulf" and omit a sentence by Clinton that describes late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as "a decent, respectable man."

After the book's release about a month ago, authorities halted its sale for a few days as "Clinton's picture on the cover would be arousing for women." The problem was later resolved.

Translator Bijan Ashtari said Clinton has not made any harsh references to Iran and recommended the book to "Iranian diplomats and anyone interested in true history."

"Despite the stereotypes Iranians have formed about American politicians, Mr. Clinton's frank and detailed narrative wipes all conspiracy theories out of your mind," he says.

Despite the tough vetting procedures, Fattemi acknowledged outgoing President Mohammad Khatami's role in relaxing regulations has greatly boosted the number of books published in the past eight years.

"I am sure this book could not make it through either before or after Khatami," he says, expressing hope that ultra-conservative President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will go easy on publishing.

"The regime can set a good image by this and show the world there is freedom of expression in Iran," he says, adding there is no point banning books as they will eventually end up on the Internet, where they can be downloaded.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran were cut off in the aftermath of the Islamic revolution in 1979. Ahmadinejad has said Iran does "not need" to restore ties with Washington. - AFP


Hmmmm, sex ed book maybe? :P
Jo Canadian

For a place that's illegal to sell DVD's (especially Hollywood ones) I'm acutually suprised they allowed to print & distribute that book there.
Wait of these Anti-American posters here are going to find you an article about how Bush is in bed with Clinton's publisher, and the bombing has been delayed awaiting book sale numbers out of Iran. Lots of books sold, no bomb...not so many...bombing....
Reverend Blair
Not quite, Jay. There has been a strong democracy movement in Iran for years. When Khomeini took over, he was actually by those who wanted democracy...there was supposed to be a sharing of power. That has a lot to do with why there is an elected side to politics in Iran.

Bush's policies play into the hands of the ayotollahs though. He presents the outside threat that keeps people scared enough not to fight back against totalitarianism. Bush is an extremist from the religious right and so are the ayotollahs. They know exactly how to present him to their people to instill fear and exert control.

Clinton wasn't a threat though. As the best Republican president the US ever had (no, that's not a typo), Clinton did not present a threat to Iran. The democracy movement did well because there was no valid outside threat. The power of religious extremists waned. Now Bush, the worst president the US ever had, is in charge. He presents a threat.

Allowing Clinton's book to be sold in Iran makes Bush seem that much more dangerous. If Bush is dangerous, the ayotollahs have more power. You can bet they grin a lot when Bush talks abou them.

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