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Iran Denies Involvement but Justifies Salman Rushdie Attack

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By JON GAMBRELL, Related Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — An Iranian authorities official denied on Monday that Tehran was concerned within the assault on writer Salman Rushdie, although he justified the stabbing in remarks that represented the Islamic Republic’s first public feedback on the assault.

The feedback by Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman of Iran’s Overseas Ministry, got here greater than two days after the assault on Rushdie in New York. The author has now been taken off a ventilator and is “on the street to restoration,” in response to his agent.

Nevertheless, Iran has denied finishing up different operations overseas concentrating on dissidents within the years for the reason that nation’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, regardless of prosecutors and Western governments attributing such assaults again to Tehran. And whereas Iran hasn’t centered on the author in recent times, a decades-old fatwa demanding his killing nonetheless stands.

“Concerning the assault in opposition to Salman Rushdie in America, we don’t take into account anybody deserving reproach, blame and even condemnation, aside from (Rushdie) himself and his supporters,” Kanaani mentioned.

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“On this regard, nobody can blame the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he added. “We imagine that the insults made and the help he obtained was an insult in opposition to followers of all religions.”

Rushdie, 75, was stabbed Friday whereas attending an occasion in western New York. He suffered a broken liver and severed nerves in an arm and a watch, his agent Andrew Wylie mentioned. Rushdie was more likely to lose the injured eye.

His assailant, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, has pleaded not responsible to prices stemming from the assault via his lawyer.

Rushdie has for greater than 30 years confronted loss of life threats for “The Satanic Verses.” Iran’s late Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini had issued a fatwa, or Islamic edict, demanding his loss of life. A semiofficial Iranian basis had put up a bounty of over $3 million for the writer, although it has but to supply any touch upon the assault.

Police in New York have supplied no motive but for the assault, although District Lawyer Jason Schmidt alluded to the bounty on Rushdie in arguing in opposition to bail throughout a listening to Saturday.

“Even when this court docket had been to set one million {dollars} bail, we stand a threat that bail could possibly be met,” Schmidt mentioned.

Matar was born in the USA to oldsters who emigrated from Yaroun in southern Lebanon close to the Israeli border, in response to the village’s mayor. Flags of the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group Hezbollah, together with portraits of Hezbollah and Iranian leaders, hold throughout the village. Israel additionally has bombarded Hezbollah positions close to there previously.

In his remarks Monday, Kanaani added that Iran didn’t “have another data greater than what the American media has reported.” He additionally implied that Rushdie introduced the assault on himself.

“Salman Rushdie uncovered himself to in style anger and fury via insulting the sacredness of Islam and crossing the crimson strains of over 1.5 billion Muslims and in addition crimson strains of followers of all divine religions,” Kanaani mentioned.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, whereas indirectly blaming Tehran for the assault on Rushdie, made some extent to say Iran in a press release early Monday praising the author’s efforts in supporting freedom of expression and faith.

“Iranian state establishments have incited violence in opposition to Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media just lately gloated concerning the try on his life,” Blinken mentioned. “That is despicable.”

Khomeini, unwell within the final 12 months of his life after the grinding, stalemated Nineteen Eighties Iran-Iraq warfare had decimated the nation’s financial system, issued the fatwa on Rushdie in 1989. The Islamic edict got here amid a violent uproar within the Muslim world over the novel, which some considered as blasphemously making ideas concerning the Prophet Muhammad’s life.

Whereas fatwas might be revised or revoked, Iran’s present Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — who took over after Khomeini — has by no means completed so. As just lately as February 2017, Khamenei mentioned: “The decree is as Imam Khomeini issued.”

Since 1979, Iran has focused dissidents overseas in assaults. Tensions with the West — notably the USA — have spiked since then-President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled America out of Iran’s nuclear cope with world powers in 2018.

A Trump-ordered drone strike killed a prime Iranian Revolutionary Guard normal in 2020, additional fueling these tensions.

Final week, the U.S. charged a Guard member in absentia for allegedly plotting to kill one-time Trump adviser and Iran hawk John Bolton. Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an aide are below 24-hour safety over alleged threats from Iran.

In the meantime, U.S. prosecutors say Iran tried to kidnap in 2021 an Iranian opposition activist and author dwelling in New York. In current days, a person with an assault rifle was arrested close to her dwelling.

Different denials from the Overseas Ministry have included Tehran’s switch of weapons to Yemen’s Houthi rebels amid that nation’s lengthy civil warfare. Impartial consultants, Western nations and U.N. consultants have traced weapon parts again to Iran.

Observe Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

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