- Don’t blame Tehran, says Foreign Ministry spokesperson
- According to the novelist, “red lines crossed” for Muslims
- Rushdie stabbed multiple times on Friday
- Attack condemned by writers, politicians around the world
DUBAI, Aug 15 (Reuters) – No one has the right to bring charges against Iran for Friday’s attack on Salman Rushdie, for which he is responsible for vilifying Muslims around the world, the ministry said on Monday. Foreign Affairs in Tehran.
The novelist, who has lived under the threat of death for decades since enraging clerical authorities in Iran with his writings, is recovering after being stabbed multiple times during a public appearance in New York state . Read more
In Iran’s first official reaction to Friday’s attack, ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said freedom of speech did not justify Rushdie’s slurs against religion. His 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses” is considered by some Muslims to contain blasphemous passages.
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“(Regarding) the attack on Salman Rushdie, we do not consider anyone but himself and his supporters worthy of … reproach and condemnation,” Kanaani said at a press briefing. “No one has the right to accuse Iran in this regard.”
Writers and politicians around the world condemned the attack. His agent told Reuters that Rushdie suffered serious injuries, including nerve damage to his arm and liver damage, and was at risk of losing an eye. Read more
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “ridiculous” to suggest Rushdie was responsible for the attack.
“It was not just an attack on him, it was an attack on the right to freedom of speech and expression,” the spokesman told reporters.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Iranian state institutions had incited violence against Rushdie for generations and that state-affiliated media welcomed the attempt on his life.
The Indian-born writer has had a bounty on his head since publishing ‘The Satanic Verses’ in 1988. The following year, Iran’s then-Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa , or edict, calling on Muslims to kill the novelist and anyone else. participated in the publication of the book.
In 1991, the Japanese translator of the novel, Hitoshi Igarashi was stabbed to death. A former student of Igarashi renewed his calls on Monday for his murder to be solved, the Ibaraki Shimbun newspaper reported.
A police spokesman told Reuters an investigation was still ongoing and the statute of limitations for the crime, which expired in 2006, could be lifted.
The novel’s Italian translator was injured in 1991, and two years later its Norwegian publisher was seriously injured by a gunshot.
In 1998, Iran’s pro-reform government of President Mohammad Khatami distanced itself from the fatwa, saying the threat against Rushdie – who had lived in hiding for nine years – was over.
But in 2019, Twitter suspended Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s account over a tweet saying the fatwa against it was “irrevocable”.
Rushdie, 75, has lived relatively openly in recent years.
He was about to give a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York on the importance of the United States as a haven for targeted artists when police said a 24-year-old man was rushed on stage and stabbed him.
Ministry spokesman Kanaani said Rushdie had “exposed himself to popular outrage by insulting Islamic sanctities and crossing the red lines of 1.5 billion Muslims”.
Kanaani said Iran had no other information about the novelist’s alleged attacker other than what appeared in the media.
The suspect, Hadi Matar of Fairview, New Jersey, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault during a court appearance on Saturday, his public defender, Nathaniel Barone, told Reuters.
An initial law enforcement review of Matar’s social media accounts showed he was supportive of Shia extremism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to NBC New York. Washington accuses the IRGC of waging a global extremist campaign.
IRGC-affiliated Jam-e Jam and other hardline Iranian state media celebrated the attack.
Matar is the son of a man from Yaroun, in southern Lebanon, according to Ali Tehfe, the town’s mayor. Matar’s parents emigrated to the United States, where he was born and raised, the mayor said, adding he had no information about their political views.
Iran-backed armed group Hezbollah wields considerable influence in Yaroun, where posters of Khomeini and IRGC commander Qassem Soleimani, killed by a US drone strike in 2020, adorned walls over the weekend.
A Hezbollah official told Reuters on Saturday that the group had no further information on Friday’s attack.
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Reporting from Dubai Newsroom; Additional reporting by Maya Gebeily in Beirut and Elizabeth Piper in London; Written by Michael Georgy; Editing by John Stonestreet
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