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Three days after the attack on author Salman Rushdie, Iran broke its silence and denied allegations of its involvement in the stabbing of the 75-year-old author. However, the Islamic state defended the attack.

Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, Monday, denied any kind of involvement of Tehran in the Salman Rushdie attack, though he sought to justify the act of violence.

“Regarding the attack against Salman Rushdie in America, we don’t consider anyone deserving reproach, blame or even condemnation, except for (Rushdie) himself and his supporters," Kanaani said.

“In this regard, no one can blame the Islamic Republic of Iran," he added. “We believe that the insults made and the support he received was an insult against followers of all religions."

Salman Rushdie has faced death threats for more than 30 years over his novel, "The Satanic Verses", for his depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, which is considered blasphemous by some Muslims.

The author had been on life support after he was attacked in New York on 12 August. However, the writer has been taken off the ventilator and is “on the road to recovery, said his agent Andrew Wylie.

He further informed that Rushdie's liver got damaged along with nerves in one of his arms and an eye. The novelist might lose one of his eyes due to injury.

In his remarks Monday, Kanaani added that Iran did not "have any other information more than what the American media has reported." He also implied that Rushdie brought the attack on himself.

“Salman Rushdie exposed himself to popular anger and fury through insulting the sacredness of Islam and crossing the red lines of over 1.5 billion Muslims and also red lines of followers of all divine religions," Kanaani said.

The main reason behind widely accepted suspicion of Iran's alleged involvement in the attack is the fatwa that was issued against the author in 1989. In that year, Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or Islamic edict demanding the author's death. However, Iran has not focused on Rushdie in recent years, but the decree still stands.

Apart from an official announcement by an Iranian leader, a semiofficial Iranian foundation also posted an award of over $3 million to the person who will kill the author.

However, the country has denied carrying out such attacks against dissidents since the Islamic Revolution that took place in 1979 in the country. But the West continues to blame Iran for such attacks.

Salman Rushdie's attacker pleaded not guilty

His alleged attacker, 24-year-old Hadi Matar, didn't admit his attempt of murder and assault. New York Police could not find any firm reason behind the attack. While arguing against the bail during a hearing, District Attorney Jason Schmidt cited the the bounty on Salman Rushdie as the possible reason behind the attack.

“Even if this court were to set a million dollars bail, we stand a risk that bail could be met," Schmidt said.

Born and brought up in the U.S., Hadi Matar hold his roots to Yaroun in Southern Lebanon near Israeli border. His parents emigrated from their to America, according to the village's mayor. The village records show that Matar is a Lebanese citizen and is a Shiite. Flags of Iranian-backed Shiite militant group Hezbollah were also found across the village. The Hezbollah positions across the village were also bombarded by Israel in the past.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns, said Matar’s father lives there but has been in seclusion since the attack.

A never ending dispute between the U.S. and Iran

Iran and the U.S. have always been at loggerheads on issues ranging from Nuclear deal to terrorism. Even in case of attack on Salman Rushdie America has publicly condemned the Islamic state.

Even though Iran has made its stand clear in the issue, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made a statement on Monday, to criticise the Islamic State and supported the writer for his stance on freedom of expression and religion.

“Iranian state institutions have incited violence against Rushdie for generations, and state-affiliated media recently gloated about the attempt on his life," Blinken said. “This is despicable."

It is worth noting that fatwas can be revoked after announcement. But Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei didn't bother to do so. In 2017, he made it clear by saying,“The decree is as Imam Khomeini issued."

Tensions between the West and Iran grew when America pulled out of Iran's nuclear deal with world powers during the tenure of President Donald Trump in 2018.

Situation worsened when the drone strike ordered by then President Donald Trump killed a top Iranian Revolutionary Guard general in 2020.

Not only this, Iran had also issued death threats to former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and an aide. Due to this, both of them are kept under 24 hour security. Iranian opposition activists living in the U.S. have also faced threats from Iran as one such activist was saved from an attempt of abduction in 2021.

 

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