Opponents and activists accuse Iranian leaders of being responsible for the attack on writer Salman Rushdie.
Posted today at 5:23 p.m.
Iranian leaders are responsible for the attack on British writer Salman Rushdie. Indeed, the Islamic republic has never denied the fatwa issued in 1989 by its founder calling for the murder of the novelist, activists and opponents said on Saturday.
While the religious edict issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini regarding the novel “The Satanic Verses” has not been part of daily discourse in Iran for some time, the clerical power of his successor, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, does not did nothing to indicate that it was no longer valid and even repeatedly pointed out that it was still in effect.
The stabbing of Rushdie at a conference near New York comes at a delicate time for Iran, as major powers await a response from Tehran to a proposal to save the 2015 deal on its nuclear program .
During the period of relative thaw between Tehran and the West under former President Mohammad Khatami, ex-foreign minister Kamal Kharazi pledged in 1998 that Iran would take no action to endanger Rushdie’s life.
But a response posted to a question on Iran’s Supreme Leader Khamenei’s website in February 2017 said the fatwa was still valid. “Answer: The decree is as Imam Khomeini issued it,” it read.
The compte Twitter @khamenei_ir, which echoes Khamenei’s views and whose suspension has been repeatedly called for by human rights activists, posted in 2019 that the fatwa was “irrevocable”. Activists also insist that a bounty of more than $3 million for Rushdie’s assassination remained offered by an Iranian foundation.
“Whether today’s assassination attempt was ordered directly by Tehran or not, it is almost certainly the result of thirty years of the regime’s incitement to violence against this famous perpetrator,” the National Union said. for Democracy in Iran (NUFDI), based in Washington.
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an opposition group banned in Iran, claimed that the attack took place at the “instigation” of Khomeini’s fatwa. “Ali Khamenei and other leaders of the clerical regime had always sworn to implement this anti-Islamic fatwa for the past 34 years,” he said in a statement.
New York State Police identified the assailant as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, who was arrested.
Commentators drew attention to a Facebook account belonging to a man named Hadi Matar and containing images of Iranian leaders, which was deactivated within hours of the attack. A source familiar with the investigation told NBC News that Matar “is a sympathizer of Shia extremism.”
“This is the real Islamic Republic; you negotiate with such a regime and allow its supporters and lobbyists into your society. Can you understand how we feel as hostages of this regime?” tweeted Hossein Ronaghi, an Iranian free speech campaigner and one of the country’s leaders’ staunchest critics.
Throughout its history, the Islamic Republic has sought to eliminate opponents outside its borders. She is now accused of kidnapping foreign-based dissidents and bringing them back to Iran to be tried and possibly executed.
An Iranian-American journalist and activist hostile to Tehran, Masih Alinejad, who was once the target of a plot to abduct her from New York by speedboat and forcibly bring her back to Iran via Venezuela, now lives in a place of safety, after a man armed with an AK-47 was spotted outside his residence.
“There has been a Khomeini fatwa on Salman Rushdie since 1989 and the Islamic Republic of Iran has never gone back on this fatwa. @khamenei_ir also repeated it on Twitter. Today, promoters of the Islamic Republic praise this assassination and threaten me with the same fate as Salman Rushdie,” she said.
Reporting on the attack, Iran’s official IRNA news agency described Rushdie as the “apostate author” of the “Satanic Verses” and recalled the fatwa. The conservative daily Kayhan hailed the attacker as “this courageous and conscious man of his duty… who tore the neck of the enemy of God with a knife.” Iranian authorities have not yet made any official comment.