Iran rejects involvement in attack on Salman Rushdie

Tehran, Iran - Iran has denied any involvement in the attack on writer Salman Rushdie in the United States.

Salman Rushdie, whose controversial writings made him the target of a fatwa that forced him into hiding, was stabbed in the neck by an attacker on stage Friday in western New York state.
Salman Rushdie, whose controversial writings made him the target of a fatwa that forced him into hiding, was stabbed in the neck by an attacker on stage Friday in western New York state.  © CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

"There is no connection between Iran and the perpetrator," foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said on Monday, as reported by the Iranian news agency Isna.

"Rushdie himself is responsible for the attack," Kanaani asserted, noting that the author's work not only offended Iran, but Muslims worldwide.

Rushdie was stabbed onstage as he was about to deliver a lecture in New York State on Friday. The writer is recovering in hospital.

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A 24-year-old suspect named Hadi Matar is in custody. According to Vice, intelligence officials said Matar had contact with members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, but there is no evidence that Iranian officials were involved in the attack.

Matar has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault.

The Indian-born Brit's novel The Satanic Verses led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s.

Iran is increasingly coming in for criticism in the international community over a death sentence issued against the respected author in the 1980s.

Late Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued a religious edict, or fatwa, sentencing Rushdie to death more than 30 years ago because of the The Satanic Verses, published in 1988.

Khomeini accused Rushdie of insulting Islam, the prophet Mohammed, and the Koran in his novel.

Cover photo: CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

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