- BBC News World
Iran has “categorically” denied any link to the attack on Salman Rushdie last Friday and accused the writer and his followers of being “the only ones to blame” for what happened.
Rushdie, 75, turned out injured serious on Friday after being stabbed while on stage during an event in upstate New York.
According to people close to the writer, East can now breathe without help.
The young man accused of carrying out the attack was identified as Hadi Matar, 24 years old.
He pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges.. He is accused of going onstage and stabbing Rushdie at least 10 times in the face, neck and abdomen.
Rushdie had to hide for almost 10 yearsafter publishing “The Satanic Verses” in 1988. The book was received with fury by many Muslims, who argued that the author’s portrayal of the Prophet Muhammad was a gross insult to their faith.
The then Iranian leader, Ayatollah Rohollah Khomeneyes, issued an Fayou asking death of the authorand offering a $2.5 million bounty on the author’s head.
The fatwa remains active and, although the Iranian government has distanced itself from the order, an organizationeitherquasi-official religious added $500,000 more to the bounty in 2012.
Distance, but not too much
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had previously accused the media in Iran of boasting about the attack and had referred to their behavior as “despicable”.
The media in Iran have informedwidelydthe attackcalling it “divine retribution”.
Iran’s state news outlet Jaam-e Jam highlighted the possibility that Rushdie could lose an eye after the attack, saying “one of Satan’s eyes has been blinded.”
As reports of Friday’s attack emerged, eyes began to turn to Tehran.
But this Monday, the spokesman for the Iranian interior ministry Nasser Kanaani offered the first official statement after the incident, assuring that Tehran “categorically” denied any link to the attackerand then saying that “no one has the right to accuse the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
He also asserted that freedom of expression did not justify Rushdie insulting religion in his writings.
“We believe that Salman Rushdie and his followers are the only ones who deserve blame, and even condemnation, in this attack,” the spokesman said during his weekly news conference in Tehran.
“By insulting the sacred affairs of Islam and violating the boundaries of more than 1.5 billion Muslims and all followers of holy religions, Salman Rushdie has exposed himself to the wrath and fury of the people.”
The only information Iran had about the attacker was what had appeared in the media, the spokesman added.
the west reacts
Iran’s position on the attack prompted a British government spokesman to say it was “absurd” to suggest that Rushdie bore any responsibility for the attack.
He further said that “it was not only an attack” on Rushdie, but “it was an attack on free speech.”
Blinken had previously expressed a similar sentiment, saying that Rushdie had “consistently defended the universal rights of freedom of speech, freedom of religion or belief, and freedom of the press.”
“As authorities continue to investigate the attack, I am reminded of the pernicious forces that seek to disregard these rights, through hate speech and incitement to violence.”
Blinken also said the US and its partners would use “all appropriate tools” at their disposal to deal with what he called “these threats.”
On Sunday, Rushdie’s son said the author remained in critical condition.
“Although his injuries are severe, his usual combative and defiant sense of humor remains intact,” he said.
Remember that you can receive notifications from BBC World. Download the new version of our app and activate it so you don’t miss out on our best content.