Crime & Justice

Iran blames Rushdie for attack, denies any responsibility

By Jaime Leon

Tehran, Aug 15 (EFE).- Iran on Monday denied any involvement in the stabbing of Salman Rushdie in the United States and said the writer was the one to blame.

“In this case, we don’t blame or condemn anyone except Salman Rushdie and his supporters,” foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said in a public statement on the attack.

The Indian-born British-American author was stabbed onstage at a literary event in upstate New York on Friday. Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old suspect from New Jersey, is in custody.

Matar is believed to be a sympathizer of Iran and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, considered the hardliners within the Iranian regime.

Rushdie is currently off the ventilator but remains in critical condition with damage to the liver and eye, which he will likely lose.

The Iranian spokesman stressed that Rushdie provoked public indignation by offending Islam and Muslims in his 1988 novel “The Satanic Verses.”

“With insulting the Islamic sanctities of more than one and a half billion Muslims and crossing the red lines of all the followers of divine religions, Salman Rushdie exposed himself to the anger and ire of the people, not only Muslims but also all the followers of divine religions,” he said.

Kanaani did not mention the religious edict, or fatwa, issued by late Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989, that called for Rushdie’s assassination and forced him into hiding for years.

“We have no information about the attacker who did this, other than what we heard from the American outlets,” Kanaani pointed out.

“No one has the right to accuse Iran in this regard,” he added.

Following the attack on Rushdie, the Iranian authorities had remained conspicuously silent, while public opinions were conflicting.

Most of the conservative media outlets have welcomed the attack, including Keyhan, which is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, which wrote “Divine vengeance reaches Salman Rushdie; Trump and Pompeo are next”.

The daily “Jaam-e Jam” headlined its front page: “The devil’s eye has been blinded”, accompanied by a photo of Rushdie portrayed as a demon surrounded by fire with one eye missing.

In the streets of Tehran, the opinions of locals ranged from little support to indifference to rejection.

The religious, however, celebrated the attack.

Cleric Jalal Mohebi defended the attack on the “cursed” writer because he “insulted the Quran and the Prophet of Islam” in his book.

“Imam Khomeini declared him an apostate, and when someone is declared an apostate it is permissible to kill him,” Mohebi told Efe at the Saleh shrine in Tehran on Sunday.

“The Satanic Verses” sparked outrage among Muslims, who regard it as blasphemous and insulting to the Quran, Prophet Mohammed and the Islamic faith.

It was banned in India, Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and South Africa.EFE

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