Iran denied any involvement in the stabbing of Salman Rushdie and blamed the attack on the author and his supporters. Life-changing injuries.
“Regarding the attack on Salman Rushdie, we are not considering anyone else [Rushdie] And his supporters deserve blame and even condemnation,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Khanani told a televised news conference on Monday, marking the country’s first public reaction to the incident.
“We have not seen anything about the individual who committed this act other than what we have seen in the American media. We categorically and vehemently deny that the attacker has any connection with Iran,” Khanani said, according to Iranian state media.
Rushdie, an Indian-born British writer, received decades of death threats after Iran issued a fatwa, or religious decree, to kill him following the publication of his book “The Satanic Verses” in 1988. He spent nearly a decade under British protection before moving to the US in recent years and was stabbed repeatedly during an attack on stage in western New York on Friday.
The suspect has been identified as 24-year-old Haddy Mather of Fairview, New Jersey. Innocent Saturday on attempted second-degree murder and other charges.
Although Iran did not officially comment on the attack over the weekend, several hard-line Iranian newspapers praised the suspect on Saturday – including the conservative Kaihan newspaper, whose editor-in-chief is Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
“A thousand bravos, a hundred God bless. His hand should be kissed … Bravo to the warrior and dutiful man who attacked the traitorous and wicked Salman Rushdie. To kiss the hero’s hand. He tore the jugular vein of Rushdie,” the paper said.
Another hardline newspaper, Khorasan, carried a headline, “Devil on the road to hell”, showing a picture of Rushdie on a stretcher.
Rushdie – the son of a successful Muslim businessman in India – was educated in England, first at Rugby School and then at the University of Cambridge where he earned an MA in History.
The release of “The Satanic Verses” in 1988 made him a household name and brought him fame. Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against him a year later.
The bounty against Rushdie was never lifted, although in 1998 the Iranian government tried to distance itself from the fatwa by promising not to seek enforcement.
But in February 2017, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed the religious mandate.
Also in 2019, Khamenei tweeted that Khomeini’s fatwa against Rushdie was “firm and irrevocable”, prompting Twitter to place a restriction on his account.
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