Iran Denies Its Role In Attack On Salman Rushdie, Blames His Supporters

In 1989, Iran's then Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah issued a fatwa (edict) against author Salman Rushdie for his novel "The Satanic Verses".

By Aalok Sensharma
Updated: Mon, 15 Aug 2022 01:20 PM IST
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Iran Denies Its Role In Attack On Salman Rushdie, Blames His Supporters
Salman Rushdie was attacked last week in New York. (Photo: Reuters)

Iran on Monday denied its involvement in the attack on Salman Rushdie and blamed his supporters for Friday's assault. The remarks were made by Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of Iran's Foreign Ministry, during a press briefing.

Rushdie, 75, was stabbed Friday while he was attending an event in New York, which severely injured him. However, his attacker, identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty to charges against him.

"We, in the incident of the attack on Salman Rushdie in the US, do not consider that anyone deserves blame and accusations except him and his supporters," Kanaani said, as reported by The Associated Press. "Nobody has right to accuse Iran in this regard."

In 1989, Iran's then Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah issued a fatwa (edict) against Rushdie for his novel "The Satanic Verses" that was published a year ago. Ruhollah in his fatwa called on Muslims to kill Rushdie and anyone involved in the book's publication.

However, Kanaani said that the current Iranian government does not support the fatwa, adding that Rushdie has lived relatively openly in recent years. "Salman Rushdie exposed himself to popular outrage by insulting Islamic sanctities and crossing the red lines of 1.5 billion Muslims," Kanaani said, as reported by Reuters.

"During the attack on Salman Rushdie, we do not consider anyone other than himself and his supporters worthy of reproach, reproach and condemnation... No one has the right to accuse Iran in this regard," he said, adding that Iran had no other information about Rushdie's assailant except what had appeared in media.

However, hardline Iranian newspapers have hailed the attack on Rushdie. Kayhan newspaper, whose editor-in-chief is appointed by Iran's Supreme Leader, wrote: "A thousand bravos ... to the brave and dutiful person who attacked the apostate and evil Salman Rushdie in New York."

Vatan Emrooz, another hardline newspaper, wrote: "Knife in Salman Rushdie’s neck." Meanwhile, Khorasan daily said: "Satan on the way to hell."

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