Iran says Rushdie, his supporters to blame for stabbing incident

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman denies link between Tehran and attacker.

Iran says Rushdie, his supporters to blame for stabbing incident

In its first reaction since the assassination bid on Indian-born British-American writer Salman Rushdie, Iran on Monday said the writer and his supporters are to blame for the attack.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani, addressing a weekly press conference in Tehran, refuted any link between the attack on Rushdie and Iran.

He said "no one has the right" to accuse Iran of orchestrating the attack on Rushdie, who is currently recovering at a hospital after being stabbed on stage at an event in New York, which left him with severe injuries.

The 75-year-old author has been living under threat because of his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses, which prompted then Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a religious edict against him, calling for his death.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman said they know nothing about the assailant, a New Jersey resident, other than what they have "heard in the American media."

He hastened to add that Rushdie "crossed the red line of 1.5 billion Muslims," as well as other divine religions, by committing blasphemy against Holy Prophet Muhammad.

"Freedom of expression cannot justify abusing divine religions and their principles," Kanaani said.

Hüseyin Demir

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